I am an education economist working at the department of Economics of the Maastricht University School of Business and Economics. The research in our research group Economics of Education is inspired by the idea that education can only be improved if education practitioners, policymakers and researchers work together. A first step is to systematically collect information on the performance of students and schools. Many information is already stored in the school or student administration systems, and where necessary this is supplemented with additional questionnaires and tests. The second step is to talk together with the school about this information. Where are the strong and weak points of the schools? Where is room for improvement? Based on this dialogue, we develop experiments with which we can study determinants of student and school performance. Because of the close cooperation between research and practice the research is targeted to educational practice but scientific quality is guaranteed. In this way we can improve education. For our activities we receive subsidies from the Ministry of Education, schoolboards, Province and municipalities.
My current research focuses on the analysis of both student and school performance. I am interested in the role and limitations of using tests to measure such performance as well as in the various determinants of performance. What is the role of non-cognitive skills when measuring student performance using test scores? What is the predictive power of objective tests in comparison with subjective assessments? What is the effect of including students’ social background and previous school history when measuring school performance? These and other questions are at the core of my research.
I teach and coordinate courses in the field of social economics and labour economics. Social Economics addresses the economics of daily life, meaning all the economics that you will not find in the financial pages of your newspaper. This includes everything from the performance of schools, labour participation in an aging population, fraud in firms, marriage and divorce, the obesity epidemic and even traffic jams. Inspired by real, everyday life, such social questions are analysed from a theoretical and empirical perspective, providing insights that can be translated into sound practical economic policies. Within Social Economics we provide students with both the theoretical and empirical knowledge to carry out economic analyses of how personality and economic forces shape human behaviour. I actively coordinate the master specialisation Social Economics, within Economics. Next to that, I am the master thesis coordinator of Economic Studies and also involved in the assessment of Phd. studies in my fields of interest.
When I not at work, I regularly walk around with a camera in my hands. I love taking pictures and capturing moments and details. In nature, but also on the streets. I also like to cruise around in one of our oldtimer cars and talk to other car lovers at meetings. And naturally I also like to make pictures at such events. Some of my photo’s are shown here in my fotoblogs. More photo’s can be found on my flickr page.