New distribution system for natural gas

In Money
Thursday, 12 March 2009 10:56

Maastricht researcher advocates European natural gas exchange in the Netherlands

It happened again around Christmas time: Russia turned off the gas tap to Ukraine. As a result, various countries ended up without natural gas, including Bulgaria and Slovakia, whose gas supplies from Russia travel through the same pipeline. Dozens of people froze to death, and factories and institutions were forced to temporarily close their doors. It’s high time to take action, according to researcher Rahmi Ýlkýlýç from Maastricht University’s Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (FEBA). He has recently started looking into the possibilities for a new natural gas distribution system and the establishment of a European natural gas exchange – to be hosted by none other than the Netherlands.

International prize for research into sustainable entrepreneurship and investment

Sustainability is an increasingly important theme for investors and entrepreneurs. In recent years, the initial reluctance to embrace sustainability in its entirety has been dispelled by researchers such as UM’s Jeroen Derwall. His PhD thesis – which he completed almost a year ago – has recently been awarded an international prize. His major premise was that sustainable entrepreneurship and investment are indeed relevant to managers and investors aiming for optimum financial results.

Clever investors go for Art

In Money
Tuesday, 21 August 2007 00:00

Dr. Rachel Campbell compiles a European Fine Art Index

Although not everyone necessarily likes Picasso’s paintings, the economic value of a Picasso is beyond dispute. For the last few years, this economic value has been the main reason for investors buying a work of art or investing in a specialised art fund. Investing in Art is ‘hot’. But which type of art is most suitable as a business investment? Impressionism or perhaps contemporary art? And what determines or influences the price of a work of art? The European Fine Art Index being compiled by Rachel Campbell will provide answers to all these questions.

Environmental pollution at a price

In Money
Tuesday, 08 May 2007 00:00

Investigation of economic instrument against environmental pollution

The trade in greenhouse gas emission allowances was introduced throughout Europe in 2005. The EU hopes that this market-driven policy instrument will satisfy its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Dr. Marjan Peeters, senior researcher in Cross-Border Environmental Law at the METRO research institute has been looking into the legal aspects of this economic instrument designed to counter environmental pollution. One of her contentions is that: ‘This potentially powerful instrument is sensitive to lobby processes and legal conflict. It needs further development, strong government guidance and a robust judicial regime.’

’Freedom of choice leads to stress’

In Money
Tuesday, 07 November 2006 00:00

Professor of Economics focuses on the psyche of consumers

Competition between, for example, health insurance companies is beneficial to consumers, says the government. Carefully weighing up the various possibilities allows consumers to choose the best insurance policy at the best price, according to the standard economic model. ‘But people are not caricatures or machines that make standard choices’, says Arno Riedl, Professor of Public Economics. ‘This does not seem to have got through to the government, resulting in poorer policy than necessary.’ Arno Riedl hopes that his research into how people behave in economic situations will shake the government out of its dream.

How pensions are following mortgages

In Money
Thursday, 09 February 2006 00:00

Research into the ideal pension and the role of pension funds

The way people arrange their pensions today is totally different from the way they select a mortgage. The choice for a mortgage is determined by lifestyle, income, plans for the future and suchlike. In the best-case scenario pensions are arranged ‘automatically’ via the employer, using the pension insurer he has a contract with. As a result, many people do not consider thinking about their pension a priority. But experts predict that this is going to change dramatically in the future. People will try to find a tailor-made pension in much the same way as they are selecting the most suitable mortgage now. But in that case, what will be the best options for the various groups in society?

Mass customization

In Money
Wednesday, 05 October 2005 00:00

Much choice does not create a problem for the consumer

Besides mass products companies now also offer custom-made products for the masses. Jeans, sports shoes, computers; as a consumer you can indicate your specific preferences per part for all sorts of products, upon which the manufacturer can exactly produce the product you want to have. Characteristic is also that this production process does not involve higher costs than the production of a mass product. In other words: mass customization has many advantages for both companies and consumers. However, a possible pitfall is that the customer becomes overwhelmed by the many options and is not capable to obtain the desired product. Prof. dr. ir. Benedict Dellaert, professor of Business Administration at UM, searched together with prof. Stefan Stremersch (Erasmus University) for the limits of mass customization. For the first time the functionality of this phenomenon has been established.

Knowledge alone is not enough

In Money
Tuesday, 04 October 2005 00:00

Individual competences of alumni raise labour market success

Two economists graduate with the same study results. One received a higher grade for his thesis and gained relevant work experience. The other has a more ambitious and more responsible personality and is less influenced by ‘socially desirable’ behaviour. Moreover, he gained some administrative experience. Who has the best chance of finding a (suitable) high-quality job? The second, so it appears from the PhD research of Dr. Judith Semeijn. Generic competences (such as learning style, personality and administrative experience) have greater predictive power for finding a good job than specific competences (such as the thesis, relevant work experience and study results at the university). “So, knowledge alone is not enough. We knew that already, but we haven’t done much with this information yet”, says Judith Semeijn. That is why she pleads for (even) better adjustment of university education to practice. And for more attention for learning style, personality and group functioning.

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