Regional and Urban Economics


Course Objective

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.

Course Content

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.

Teaching Methods


Method of Assessment

Assignments to practice the theoretical and empirical concepts (in
groups of 2; 10%).
Empirical assignments (in groups of 2; 15%).
A presentation and short written assignment based on a scientific
article (in groups of 2; 15%).
Written exam (60%).


P. McCann, Modern Urban and Regional Economics, Oxford University Press
(second editionl both the first as well as the second edition can be

Additional scientific articles and policy reports to be made available
on Canvas.

Recommended background knowledge

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

General Information

Course Code E_EBE2_RUE
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty School of Business and Economics
Course Coordinator prof. dr. H.L.F. de Groot
Examiner prof. dr. H.L.F. de Groot
Teaching Staff dr. T. de Graaff
dr. P.R. Koster
prof. dr. H.L.F. de Groot
dr. M.B.J. Schauten

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Instruction course, Study Group
Target audiences

This course is also available as: