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News
Jeroen van den Bergh, awarded an honorary doctorate by the Open University of the Netherlands

Date: 2019-09-30


The environmental economist at ICTA-UAB Prof. Dr Jeroen van den Bergh was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Open University of the Netherlands. The honorary doctorate was conferred on Thursday 26 September 2019 in Heerlen, the Netherlands, during the celebration of the 35th dies natalis of the Open University.

Prof. Dr Jeroen van den Bergh is an ICREA research professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and professor of Environmental and Resource Economics by special appointment at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He was recognized for his pioneering contributions to the debate about environmental policy, which relies on profound insights obtained by combining elements from behavioral and evolutionary economics and environmental economy. 

Climate change is a topical and urgent theme with many complications. How can we address such a complex problem? How can we stimulate technological innovation, restrict emissions and ensure public and political support for policy? Jeroen van den Bergh has occupied himself with these themes for decennia, whereby he emphasizes that we should see human society as a complex system in which regulation leads to many unforeseen consequences, which can undermine the effectiveness of policy. Examples are the rebound effect of energy savings, leakage of emissions to other countries, and even shifting of environmental problems. These reactions occur via the channels of international trade, relocation of businesses, reactions of oil markets, etc. In the analysis, Van den Bergh gives ample attention to the role of limited rationality and social interactions of both consumers and businesses. This guarantees more robust, precise and complete recommendations for environmental and climate policy.

His work is of the highest scientific level, which has already led to the award of the Royal/Shell price by The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the granting of Europe’s most prestigious research funding, namely an ERC Advanced Grant for the project ‘Behavioral-evolutionary analysis of climate policy: Bounded rationality, markets and social interactions’. An overview of his ideas can be found in his recent book 'Human Evolution Beyond Biology and Culture: Evolutionary Social, Environmental and Policy Sciences'.

The arguments of Jeroen van den Bergh for a smart climate policy set the tone and have influence, among others on the Dutch debate about an economy-wide CO2 tax. He is a tireless speaker who gives many lectures and is active on social media, to ensure that the polarized debate about climate change takes place on the basis of the correct arguments.

 

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