Economic modelling of the bioeconomy - 3 ECTS

This course aims to provide students hands-on knowledge of how to construct and use input-output models (and some of its extensions), partial equilibrium models and mathematical programming models. After the course students will understand the basic principles of these models, they will be able to apply simple demo versions and be able to assess how these models could be used in their own research.

There is a growing interest in the (potential) contribution of the bioeconomy to the national economy. This interest is fuelled by many issues, for example, climate change asks for an economy in which less fossil energy is used and the growing world population requires safe and sufficient food. To answer the related research question numerous methods can be used. One set of methods consists of economic models. Within the set of economic models again numerous different models can be distinguished. One way of classifying economic models is to identify who the actors are whose economic behaviour is modelled. When the whole economy is of interest input-output models and applied general equilibrium models are commonly used. In these models the actors are individual industries, (groups of) consumers, the government and the rest of the world. Different levels of aggregation can be used depending on data availability and the research questions at hand. When the interest is on one specific market for a product (or few markets of related products) usually partial equilibrium models are used. In these models the demanders and suppliers of the product are usually aggregated into a limited number of actors and equilibrium on the market for the product is assumed. Partial equilibrium models usually contain more detail than applied general equilibrium models because focus is only on one or a limited number of markets compared to all markets in an economy as in the case of input-output and applied general equilibrium models. If the focus is on the behaviour of an individual actor (or a small number of actors) often mathematical programming models are used. In these models actors are assumed to maximize one or a few objectives under constraints. The advantage of these models compared to the previous mentioned models is that they allow for the inclusion of detailed market, technical and institutional constraints. However, every classification is flawed and incomplete, for example, because mixed models exist (e.g. a Takayama-Judge model is a partial equilibrium trade model in the form of a mathematical programming model that minimizes transport costs between trading partners).


Session 1 18-2-2019 09:00-12:30
Session 2 21-2-2018 09:00-12:30
Session 3 25-2-2019 09:00-12:30
Session 4 28-2-2019 09:00-12:30
Session 5 04-3-2019 09:00-12:30
Session 6 07-3-2019 09:00-12:30
Session 7 11-3-2019 09:00-12:30
Session 8 14-3-2019 09:00-12:30

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion participants are expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the basic principles of input-output models, applied general equilibrium models, partial equilibrium models and mathematical programming models;
  2. Apply already existing models and making simple extensions;
  3. Assess the models on their usefulness for the PhD’s research.


The course will consist of four modules each discussing one type of model. Each module consists of two lectures of 2 times 40 minutes and a practical that can be done at home. In each module the first lecture is used to discuss a type of model. At the practical students have to use and extend an already existing model to answer questions. In the final lecture the outcomes will be discussed.

Target group and min/max number of participants:

PhDs with an in interest in applied economic modelling of the bioeconomy. There is no minimum nor maximum.

Assumed prior knowledge:

It is required that participants have basic knowledge of micro-economic theory on at least intermediate level. Participants will make use of the software package GAMS, however, it is not necessary that students are familiar with this package at the start of this course.


The computer exercise will be marked. Moreover, students have to write a short essay indicating how one of the models could be used in her or his research.

Course fee 

WASS, PE&RC and WIMEK/SENSE PhDs with TSP € 220
a) All other PhD candidates b) Postdocs and staff of the above mentioned Graduate Schools € 440
All others € 660

NB: for some courses, PhD candidates from other WUR graduate schools with a TSP are also entitled to a reduced fee. Please consult your Education/PhD Programme Coordinator for more information

Cancellation conditions:

The participants can cancel their registration free of charge 1 month before the course starts. A cancellation fee of 100% applies if a participant cancels his/her registration less than 1 month prior to the start of the course.

The organisers have the right to cancel the course no later than one month before the planned course start date in the case that the number of registrations does not reach the minimum.

The participants will be notified of any changes at their e-mail addresses.