Ben Vollaard (Ph.D. RAND Graduate School) is assistant professor at the Economics Department of Tilburg University. He is affiliated to the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC), member of the Home Office/ERA Academic advisory panel, writes regularly for the national newspaper NRC Handelsblad, and is one of the managing editors of MJ.nu, the Dutch discussion forum for economists. At Tilburg University, he teaches a semester-long course on Public Finance in the international BSc program and a short course on the Economics of Crime for PhD students.
Before joining the faculty at Tilburg in August 2008, he was a graduate fellow at the RAND Corporation and served as research economist at the Dutch equivalent of the Council of Economic Advisors (CPB).
His research focuses on cost-effective strategies to reduce crime. The aim of his research is to integrate studies of victim and offender behavior into a common economic framework for policy analysis. Typically, victims are assumed to use rules of thumb in deciding what crime prevention measures to take, and offenders are assumed to have imperfect knowledge of the criminal opportunities that they can exploit.
In recently published work, he shows that large-scale government intervention in victim precaution (incl. regulation of car security and home security) can be a cost-effective way of reducing crime. Such regulations help potential victims to commit to a strategy of precaution; and potential offenders are at least temporarily deterred because they cannot costlessly and instantaneously shift towards alternative criminal opportunities.
Currently, together with Robert Dur, he is conducting a series of natural field experiments with the City of Rotterdam. Aim is to gain insight in what drives disorderly behavior and how it can be tackled most effectively. Recently, he co-organized the Transatlantic Workshop on the Economics of Crime in October 2012 in Rotterdam.
Update on working papers/publications
Why the police have an effect on violent crime after all. Evidence from the British Crime Survey, Journal of Law and Economics, Nov 2012 (with Joe Hamed).
Does regulation of built-in security reduce crime? Evidence from a natural experiment, The Economic Journal, May 2011 (with Jan van Ours, featured in 'Economics focus' of the Economist). Findings summarized in Vox column 'Reducing the invitation to crime'.
-> See tab 'RESEARCH' for more recent publications and working papers.
2000-2005 Ph.D. in Policy Analysis, RAND Graduate School. Thesis title: Police effectiveness: measurement and incentives. Dissertation committee: Jim Hosek, Arie Kapteyn, Gregory Ridgeway. External reader: James Q. Wilson. (M.Phil. September 2002)
1993-1997 B.Sc. & M.Sc. Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam. GPA 4.0.
2008- University of Tilburg, Assistant professor at the Economics Department.
2008 RAND Europe, Cambridge (UK). Analyst.
2006-2007 NRC Handelsblad (Dutch quality newspaper). Economics reporter. Freelance journalist as of December 2007.
2002-2006 CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, Senior Researcher.
2000-2005 RAND Corporation, Santa Monica (USA), Graduate Fellow.
1999-2000 CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, Researcher.
1997-1999 Netherlands Department of Economic Affairs, Member of Staff to the Secretary.
2010 UC Berkeley, Visiting scholar at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.
2010 Rutgers University, Visiting scholar at the School of Criminal Justice.
2005 Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Israel). Visiting researcher at Institute of Criminology.
1997 University of Newcastle (UK). Visiting researcher at the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies.
Why the police have an effect on violent crime after all. Evidence from the British Crime Survey, Journal of Law and Economics, November 2012 (with Joe Hamed).
Does regulation of built-in security reduce crime? Evidence from a natural experiment, The Economic Journal, May 2011. (with Jan van Ours, featured in 'Economics focus' of the Economist)
The effect of police on crime, disorder and victim precaution. Evidence from a Dutch victimization survey, International Review of Law and Economics, 2009, 29 (4). (with Pierre Koning)
Self-limiting crime waves, in: Jan van Dijk, Andromachi Tseloni, Graham Farrell (eds.), The International Crime Drop: New Directions in Research, 2012, Palgrave MacMillan, New York. (with Jan van Dijk)
The power of a bad example. A field experiment in household garbage disposal (with Robert Dur). Picture at treatment site. Featured on Freakonomics.
The engine immobilizer: a non-starter for car thieves (with Jan van Ours). Related work on car color and car theft was recently published on Vox, and featured on NPR, Toronto Star.
Temporal displacement of crime. Evidence from marine oil pollution. YouTube video on aerial surveillance above the North Sea.
Learning about risk in a new environment. Evidence for crime preventive behavior (with Martin Salm).
Download the first ever 1980 through 2008 consistent time series for victimization of crime in the Netherlands (with Jan van den Brakel).
Direct and indirect funding
Research grant from the Police Research Foundation, 145,000 euro, 2008-2010.
Research grant from the Police Academy, unit Environmental Crime, 30,000 euro, 2011.
Humane Studies Fellow, 2002, 2003.
Dr. Hendrik Muller Vaderlandsch Fonds, Research grant, 1997.
Law and Economics course (M.Phil.): empirics of the economics of crime, 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011, Tilburg University.
Room K 331
PO Box 90153
5000 LE Tilburg
E-mail: b.a.vollaard (at) uvt.nl.
I can be reached at +31 6 41 60 4444.
Last amended: 07 June 2013