Regional and Urban Economics

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Regional and Urban Economics

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    This course strongly builds on previous courses Microeconomics I and Macroeconomics I and II. In those courses, space and distance are mostly discussed at best implictly. The goal of Regional and Urban Economics is to enhance your understanding of how space and distance affect economic processes (Academic and Research Skills). We will introduce you to the main theoretical insights (Bridging Theory and Practice - Knowledge), but also pay ample attention to empirical techniques that are used to study the role of space and distance in economics (Academic and Research Skills). You also learn to translate the theoretical and empirical insights to policy debates (Bridging Theory and Practice - Application).

    After completion of this course:
    • you know the main determinants of location decisions and can apply them to concrete location problems;
    • you know the reasons why cities exist;
    • you know the determinants of the spatial structure of cities and can assess the consequences of differences in spatial structures for economic outcomes (Zipf’s law);
    • you know the determinants of land rents (bid rent theory);
    • you know and can apply the empirical technique of hedonic pricing to generate valuations of, for example, air quality and amenities;
    • you know the forces that give rise to agglomeration and clustering of economic activity in space;
    • you know the determinants of regional unemployment and migration and commuting flows;
    • you know the main determinants of regional development and growth;
    • you can reflect on the effectiveness of concrete policy measures that are aimed at forstering regional economic development in an evidence based way;
    • you can collect and use regional economic data to describe and analyze spatial-economic processes.

    Space and distance are important determinants of economic processes. Many phenomena that are of interest to economists have an explicit spatial dimension that is oftentimes left implicit. It is, however, increasingly recognized that 'space matters’. Just think about cities
    that are increasingly seen as engines of economic growth and development as illustrated by the fascinating developments and concentrations of economic activity at the Amsterdam South axis (de Zuidas), the financial district in London, or Sillicon Valley in the United States. In this course, we emphasize the importance of space in economics. Why do firms cluster in space? What are the consequences for land and real estate markets? How are labour markets affected? What are the consequences for inequality? Why do cities exist? Why do we oftentimes observe convergence between countries but divergence within countries? What are the causes and consequences of mobility of capital, labour, goods and services? Such questions are central in the course 'Regional and Urban Economics'. The topics closely link to intensively debated issues in policy. You will learn to apply insights from this course to these debates using sound theoretical and empirical evidence.


    Assignments to practice the theoretical and empirical concepts.
    Empirical assignments.
    A presentation and short written assignment based on a scientific article.
    Written exam

    Microeconomics I, Macroconomics I and II, Quantitative Research Methods I and II.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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