About the Section of Economics

The aim of the Section of Economics at Wageningen University is to be a key player in research and education on economics of sustainable development. We aspire to produce output that is both socially and academically relevant.


Our ambition is to provide up to date training on economics of sustainable development, focusing both on industrialised and developing countries. We combine a strong international perspective and a deep knowledge of behaviour, institutions and methodology to enhance our understanding of the interactions between economic and ecological processes.

In research our ambition is to be a leading player in the development and testing of new theories and methods in the domain of economics of sustainable development. Research results are disseminated via international journals, preferably top ones, presentations at international conferences and symposia, and through the publication of books and PhD theses.

Organisation and responsibilities

The section of economics consists of five chair groups, home to the staff and faculty: Agricultural Economics and Rural Policy (AEP), Urban Economics (UEC), Environmental Economics and Natural Resources (ENR), Development Economics (DEC), and Economic and Environmental History (RHI). Together we are  responsible for education and research in economics in the domain of Wageningen University. In terms of education this includes:

The economic programmes and courses in the curricula of Wageningen University including the BSC programmes BEB, BBC, BIN and BMK and various other BSc programmes, the MSC programmes MME, MID, MES and various other MSC programmes.

The various PhD courses on economics, including Advanced Micro-economics, Advanced  Macroeconomics and Advanced Econometrics. In addition the section organizes irregular but specialised PhD courses on topics of great interest.


Our strategy is to make best use of our resources through focus and cooperation across groups. We invest in the development of human resources, encourage the pursuit of research funding, and encourage publications in leading journals.

We aim at using our resources to identify pressing and interesting issues, both from a scientific and social point of view. We seek to make original and innovative contributions to the development and application of economic theories and methods.


Allocation through markets often fails because of the existence of externalities, public goods, common property resources and market power. We analyse how to reach an optimal allocation of resources and a reduction in poverty. We do not only focus on rational behaviour but also on limited rationality and ways to improve efficiency in the pursuit of desired outcomes. We are aware that we cannot be leading in all domains of economics, so we focus on a limited number of domains in which we have expertise and where we can deliver top quality in the context of the focus of Wageningen University and Research Centre and its Graduate Schools. In particular:

Responsible Production and Consumption

  • agricultural production and consumption of food;
  • regional economics;
  • international trade in food and fibre;
  • economics of optimal land use.


  • economics of institutions and institutional change;
  • economics of conflicts and post-conflict recovery;
  • microfinance, innovation and poverty alleviation;
  • behavioural and experimental economics in a context of failing markets.

Natural Resources and the Environment

  • economics of natural resource management (energy resources, soils, water, biodiversity);
  • economics of mitigation and adaptation to climate change;
  • economics of international coalitions;
  • individual decision-making and the environment.


We seek to cooperate with the best scientists and economists in the world and are continually updating our projects in order to be leading and innovating. Cooperation is focused on internal cooperation within the section, on cooperation with other researchers within Wageningen university (especially beta-gamma integration), and on cooperation with colleagues elsewhere in the Netherlands or the world.

Attracting research funds

Sources of funding include the EU, NWO, WOTRO, ESF, DGIS, DFID, BSIK, INREF and other (inter)national funding agencies.

Human resources

An important strategy element is the development and recruitment of our human resources. We focus on attracting the best candidates, and through the tenure track system we facilitate the development of academic skills of our staff. Through international exchange of visitors, students and staff we strengthen our skills and contribute to the development of the skills of others.

Publication and dissemination of ideas and results

Our publication strategy is to publish in leading international journals, preferably in the top category. We publish theoretical and methodological papers, but also applied work. This contributes to the desired scientific and social relevance, as expressed in our aim