Research team

Economics

Expertise

I specialize in theoretical and applied research in transport economics. My recent research focuses on the political economy of policy measures to reduce congestion (road pricing, permit systems, tax reform, public transport), the use of non-pricing measures (speed bumps, traffic lights, low emission zones, car-free zones, etc.), and the effect of infrastructural improvements on firm-level productivity.

Investment in public transport: a real options approach 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Current real options models only evaluate the impact of demand uncertainty on the timing of public transport investments. This project considers an investor in public transport infrastructure who maximizes social welfare and an investor in public transport service that maximizes profit. By the development of a sequential real option game, this project will evaluate how demand uncertainty affects the optimal capacity level and optimal timing of both investments and how the investment in public transport infrastructure influences the investment in public transport services. To make relevant decisions for the public transport sector, existing real option game models need to be adapted: the investment is considered as a determinant of public transport demand. The integration of such feedback relation is novel and unconventional in the field of the real options theory. Furthermore, also optimal policy measures to induce a welfare maximizing behavior of the transport service provider will be evaluated. This research project will not only advance the current state-ofthe- art, it also contributes to ongoing discussions on the liberalization of the public transport sector. By setting up a collaboration between the University of Antwerp, Tilburg University, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Hasselt University, we have an outstanding scientific team that has proven to produce original research in the field of transport economics and the real options theory.

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Sustainable Transport and Logistics. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

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Economic analysis of environmental policy in the European car market. 01/10/2013 - 31/08/2015

Abstract

In this research project, we will analyze the economic effects of different environmental policies in the EU market. We will build a structural model, which starts from a rich demand system for differentiated products, adds an oligopoly model and introduces dynamics, using insights and techniques from the fields of empirical industrial organization and environmental economics. Based on this structural approach, the project intends to produce at least three papers on the effects of environmental policies in the European car market. In addition, the project aims to exploit the data set further in order to evaluate the effects of various specific policies as natural experiments using treatment effect approaches.

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Decision making and coordination of transport policies at the local level. 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

The purpose of this project is to study the role of local governments (cities and municipalities) in controlling transport externalities (congestion, pollution, noise, accident risks). The instruments local governments can potentially use may include investing in capacityreduction, imposing local speed limits, tolls, traffic lights, increasing the red phase of traffic lights, road bumps, investing in bypass capacity around the city or municipality, building noise walls, implementing low emission zones, etc.

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In search of economical behaviour in times of global budgetary scarcity - Effects of autonomy, control, task and management on overhead costs in public organizations: Theoretical- empirical research using non-obtrusive data and 3 analysis methods. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

In these times of global financial and fiscal crisis, governments all over the world are looking for ways to reduce the budgetary burden of public organizations and to foster their economical and cost-conscious behaviour. The budgetary policies of the EU are also a major factor in this. One crucial element is the reduction of overhead costs within public organizations, as this allows budgetary savings and the reallocation of relative more budgetary means to the primary activities of public organizations. Overhead costs refer to the resources that organizations invest in supporting functions which enable the execution of their primary processes. The share of resources spent on organizational overhead (i.e. spent on non-program expenses) is generally considered to be a good inverse measurement of economical behaviour of organizations. Hence, for governments and society at large, it is crucial to know what causes large organizational overhead, and hence, a lack of economical behaviour. Moreover, since the 1980s governments around the world have adopted New Public Management (NPM) reforms, aiming to render public organizations more business-like, and make them more economical and cost-conscious as part of a better performance (i.e. economy, efficiency and effectiveness). According to NPM-doctrines, public bureaucracies needed to become 'lean and mean', by among others (1) disaggregating them in smaller, single-purpose agencies at some distance from government and shielding them off from political influence , (2) by giving them large degrees of managerial autonomy and (3) simultaneously subjecting them to result control by the minister through performance contracts and incentives. These changes in the control and regulatory environment of public organizations was believed to enhance economical behaviour, and hence reduce share of overhead costs. Likewise, more private sector oriented management would cut overhead costs. However, until now empirical research remains inconclusive about the extent performance, including economical behaviour, has indeed improved by agencification and other NPM-reforms. Also governments are increasingly sceptical about the extent to which NPM reduced overhead expenses for government as a whole, as NPM reforms, like agencification, seemed to have created proliferation and fragmentation of overhead functions. By using a dataset on all 70 departments and agencies under the remit of the Flemish government, this project enables to compare the share of overhead between organizations which have been subjected to a different extent to managerial autonomy and result control by the minister, as well as to other NPM reforms. Moreover, the project studies and theorizes the effect of these reforms on organizational overhead. The project deals with the caveats which we identify in the current state of the art of governmental efficiency studies and public sector performance studies, by: (1) defining a robust theoretical framing of hypotheses, based on neo-institutional economics and alternative theories; (2) integrating external (i.e. control and regulatory environment, task-specific and political environment) and internal determinants (i.e. management, encompassing structure, tools, values and strategies) in one theoretical model and studying their interaction effects; (3) explaining public sector overhead across sectors; (4) having attention for the political environment of public organizations and its effects; (5) avoiding the use of potentially biased perceptual data or ill-comparable archival data regarding relevant variabels, through the use of a non-obtrusive dataset, (6) by studying causality through three alternative methods (statistical analysis methods, econometric estimation of parametric frontiers and comparative configurational methods (CCM)), resulting in methodological triangulation.

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Economic analysis of environmental policy in the European car market. 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

In this research project, we will analyze the economic effects of different environmental policies in the EU market. We will build a structural model, which starts from a rich demand system for differentiated products, adds an oligopoly model and introduces dynamics, using insights and techniques from the fields of empirical industrial organization and environmental economics. Based on this structural approach, the project intends to produce at least three papers on the effects of environmental policies in the European car market. In addition, the project aims to exploit the data set further in order to evaluate the effects of various specific policies as natural experiments using treatment effect approaches.

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Political economy of transport pricing and investment. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

Most of the recent transport economics research has been dealing with normative issues (see, among many others, Small and Verhoef (handbook urban economics forthcoming), Arnott, Rave and Schöb (IFOmonograph,2005), De Borger and Proost EE book (2001)). The central question in this literature was: what are the most efficient pricing and investment policies taking into account different market imperfections? These imperfections are not only situated in the transport sector (e.g., the absence of time-differentiated pricing, the case where not all alternatives can be priced correctly, imperfect competition for some transport modes) but also in the rest of the economy (distortive labour taxes, imperfect redistribution instruments, etc.). This normative research has shown that new forms of pricing (road pricing) may generate important efficiency gains if the revenues of these new pricing instruments are used efficiently. In practice, however, one observes rather inefficient pricing and investment policies in many countries. Moreover, new forms of pricing (road pricing, cordon tolls, kilometer charges, ect.) that may clearly be beneficial for society face serious opposition and are only very slowly implemented. In this proposal, we take a positive approach to transport policy, extensively building upon political economy models. The main research question is how we can explain current transport pricing and investment policies that countries and federations implement. This is an area that received relatively little attention. The research question opens a wide field.. We therefore suggest concentrating the attention on a few specific topics in order to progressively build and test theories for their practical relevance.

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The impact of ethnic neighbourhoods on labour market integration of foreigners. 01/10/2007 - 31/07/2009

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Congestion and the tax treatment of company cars. 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2008

Abstract

The overall prupose of this project is to study the fiscal treatment of company cars within an integrated optimal tax policy towards both the labour and the transport market. The model takes into account the implications of the tax structure for the prevalence of company cars, and it captures the role of company cars for external transport costs (mainly congestion). The project studies both the optimal tax structure and several revenue neutral tax reforms. The obtained theoretical insights are illustrated by means of numerical models applied to the Belgian situation.

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Port competition and hinterland congestion. 15/06/2006 - 31/12/2008

Abstract

The project focuses on the interaction between port competition and hinterland congestion. We first theoretically study the impact of hinterland congestion and local congestion policies on price and quality competition of ports. Next we analyze the effects of congestion and port pricing policies on optimal congestion taxes in the hinterland network. We finally derive results on optimal investment policies that take account of the relation between port competition and hinterland congestion. We illustrate all theoretical results using numerical simulation techniques.

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Competition policy in Europe: theory and applications to transport and sports broadcasting. 01/01/2006 - 31/12/2009

Abstract

In this project we use recent insights from the theory of industrial organization to study pricing and regulatory proposals in a number of specific economic sectors, including transport, sports and broadcasting. The emphasis lies on studying the positive effects of various policy proposals (access pricing of infrastructure, capacity competition on transport networks, allocation of television rights of sports games, etc.). Moreover, we also illustrate their welfare or normative properties. The choice of sectors is inspired by their increasing importance and the recent expertise of the promoters of the project.

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Congestion pricing, time allocation and the labour market. 01/01/2004 - 31/12/2006

Abstract

The purpose of this project is to study various different policies to cope with congestion externalities within the framework of formal time allocation models (Becker (1966), DeSerpa (1971), Jara-Diaz (2000)). We first consider optimal congestion pricing in a standard Becker-type time allocation model under two hypotheses: (i) assuming only the commodity input in transport production can be taxed (e.g., via fuel taxes); (ii) assuming the activity 'transport' can directly be taxed (e.g. via road pricing schemers or kilometre taxes). Second, we extend this basic model to reconsider the optimal differential treatment of non-commuting and commuting transport derived in earlier models in the literature. Third, we look at the role of the time dimension in designing appropriate economic policies towards carpooling.

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Implementation of Marginal cost Pricing in Transport-Integrated Conceptual and Applied Model Analysis" (MC-ICAM) 01/01/2001 - 31/03/2003

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    Dynamic modelling of congestion costs and traffic management techniques, 01/01/2001 - 01/01/2003

    Abstract

    The project has two main goals. Firts, it wants to contribute to the research of traffic flows and more specifically traffic congestion. The scientific basis of the proposed methodology is found inthe queueing theory. More specifically, this project aims at the necessary extensions of this queueing theory approach, facilitating the usability in real life situations (like arrival control, block driving,...). Secondly, the newly developed methods will be applied to evaluate a number of policy measures. On the one hand, the dynamic queueing approach to the congestion problem might lead to other conclusions, concerning price instruments and traffic management techniques. On the other hand, this approach allows for a thorough evaluation of policy measures that are difficult to analyse whtin a static framework.

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      Two-part tariffs, discrete choice models and the correction of external effects in the transport sector 01/01/1999 - 31/12/2001

      Abstract

      The purpose of this project is to develop models that allow the integration of fixed and variable taxes in the analysis of welfare-optimal pricing of external costs in the transport sector. By separating vehicle ownership and vehicle use within the framework of explicit discrete choice models we can treat fixed and variable tax components as separate policy oinstruments in the optimal tax structure and analyse their role in the corrective taxation of transport externalities. The project proceeds in three steps: development of the theoretical framework, application to the Belgian transport sector, and application in a federal structure, taking account of potential strategic behavior of individual member states.

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        The external costs of transport 01/12/1996 - 30/11/2000

        Abstract

        The project refines recent methods to evaluate the external costs of transport and applies the resulting methodology to Belgian data. Our share in the project concentrates on dynamic aspects of congestion.

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          The relation between service provision, local taxes, and efficiency of municipalities. 01/01/1996 - 31/12/1998

          Abstract

          Integration of service provision, taxation, and performance with coherent theoretical framework. Empirical analysis of simultaneous model for Flemish local governments.

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            Optimal taxation and regulation of transport services in a federal system. 01/01/1996 - 31/12/1998

            Abstract

            Determine optimal transport taxes in a federal system, taking account of tax competition, external effects with spill-overs, and restrictions on tax instruments. Simulation exercise for Europe.

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              Models for Transport Environment and Energy Version 2 Strategic Transport Policy Analysis (TRENEN II - STRAN). 01/01/1996 - 31/12/1997

              Abstract

              The purpose of this project is to develop models to analyse the implications of transport, energy and environmental policies in the transport domain. The models determine optimal prices for all transport services, taking account of congestion, energy consumption, environmental damage caused by the various transport means, budgetary restrictions and consequences for the income distribution.

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                Trenen-Models for the study of transport energy and environment policies. Transferable models for Transport and energy policytesting. 01/01/1994 - 31/12/1995

                Abstract

                The purpose of this project is to develop models to analyse the implications of transport, energy and environmental policies in the transport domain. The models determine optimal prices for all transport services, taking account of congestion, energy consumption, environmental damage caused by the various transport means, budgetary restrictions and consequences for the income distribution.

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                  Statistical analysis of the CBGS survey data. 01/03/1993 - 31/12/1994

                  Abstract

                  Purpose of the project is to analyse and interpret the survey data.

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                    Financing veterinary inspection of meat in Belgium. 01/02/1993 - 31/07/1993

                    Abstract

                    The purpose of the project is twofold. First, to determine the costs of veterinary inspections of meat in Belgium. Second, to propose retributions, taking account of recent European legislation.

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                      Evaluation of 'new growth theory' 01/01/1993 - 31/12/1995

                      Abstract

                      Recently, new models of economic growth were developed, known as 'New Growth Theory'. These models emphasize the links between growth, technological innovation, increasing returns, human capital and international trade. The purpose of this project is to further explore the properties of these models by means of numerical simulation methods and to test these models econometrically for a selection of countries.

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                        Economic aspects of education with special emphasis on the socio-economic position of teachers. 01/08/1992 - 31/08/1995

                        Abstract

                        The broad aim of this project is initiating research on 'economics of education'. The purpose of this project is to contribute on issues concerning 'teachers revaluation in Belgium'.

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                          A macro-economic model for health care in Belgium. 01/04/1992 - 31/12/1995

                          Abstract

                          It is the purpose to build an econometric model which clarifies the structure of the health services and their link to the national economy. Specifically, attention is paid to the modelling of the demand for several types of health care, the price determination, employment in this sector and their interactions. The expenditures of the National Health Insurances are endogenized within the HERMES-model of the Belgian economy. Finally, these expenditures are linked to employment of the main types of health care personnel.

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                            Towards an explanation of the observed decrease in productivity growth 01/01/1991 - 31/01/1992

                            Abstract

                            We use input-output tables as a tool for determining to what extent the observed decrease in productivity growth may be assigned to divergent sectoral performances. As such, the technical progress that is incorporated in the intermediate intersectoral deliveries and in capital goods may be taken into account for the explanation of sectoral factor productivities.

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                              Pricing of regional and local urban transport//.. 01/12/1990 - 30/09/1996

                              Abstract

                              The project aims at deriving optimal transport prices taking into account the social costs associated with congestion and environmental effects.

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                                Transport economics 01/02/1990 - 31/01/1996

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                                  Economic evaluation of housing programs. 01/10/1988 - 31/12/1992

                                  Abstract

                                  Evaluation research concerning the experienced advantages of price subsidies on the housing market for participating households.

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