Dean of USE
Dean Utrecht University School of Economics (USE): Erik Stam
The Utrecht University School of Economics, U.S.E. is the youngest department of Utrecht University and the youngest School (department, faculty) of Economics in the Netherlands. The department of economics might be relatively new (founded in 2003), but economics is not that new to Utrecht University. Already in 1636, the year that Utrecht University was established, the first PhD student in Economics arrived. In that year, Justus Kriex applied for a PhD with a study on profiteering (‘woekerrente’) for the poor. Inequality and a real-world perspective were already prominent in Economics at Utrecht University at that time! There was no Economics department, so he applied for a PhD at the newly established Faculty of Law.
It took a few centuries before economics got more institutional recognition, with the establishment of the first chair in Political Economy, in 1815 at the Faculty of Law. This is before other well-known universities, including Oxford (1825) and Cambridge (1828) established a chair in economics. Economics has had many connections to other disciplines at Utrecht, as is also reflected in the first Economics Nobel Prize winner from Utrecht University, Tjalling Koopmans (1975 Prize). He studied mathematics and physics at Utrecht in 1927-1933.
In 1992 the Faculties of Law, Geography, Social Sciences and History joined forces to establish the economics combination program Utrecht (ECU’92, the name of the study association for Economics students at Utrecht University). It took about ten years to establish Utrecht University’s Economics Faculty, which was celebrated with its 0 lustrum in 2003. Over the last decades there has been a consistent focus on enriching economics with other disciplines in order to better solve economic problems.
We continue the Economics legacy at Utrecht with a U.S.E. that contributes to an economy where people flourish, by taking a broad view on welfare and its causes. We aspire to be an internationally renowned school of economics, with scientifically rigorous and societally relevant research and education. We enrich economics with other disciplines to better solve problems and identify opportunities, from a business and government point of view: the real-world perspective. Well-being, cooperation, innovation and curiosity are our core values.