Prof. Erwin Bulte holds the new chair in Institutions and Development within the Utrecht University School of Economics (USE) since 1 September 2014. Utrecht University's chair in Institutions and Development is unique in the Netherlands and designed to strengthen both the U.S.E.'s economic research profile and UU's designated university strategic theme of 'Institutions'. The Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.) specialises in multidisciplinary education and research in economics. More in particular, the chair will contribute to the research themes of 'Institutions for innovation and economic prosperity' - focussing on how societies can use technology, innovation and entrepreneurship most effective and efficiently - and 'Institutions for equal opportunities' - focussing on how societies can prevent inequality and promote social cohesion and social.
Bulte (1968) studied tropical forestry and development economics and obtained his PhD from Wageningen University and the Netherlands Network of Economics (NAKE) in 1997. Much of Bulte's research concentrates on African countries that have recently been areas of conflict. Among the issues he looks at is the influence of local governments and development projects on developments of these areas, both economic and otherwise. For instance, he conducts economic experiments in various villages to investigate how trust and corruption impact economic development and he experiments with different methods of development funding.
Bulte has received various grants for his research, including a Vidi and a Vici grant. In addition to his appointment at UU, Bulte also holds a professorship at Wageningen University, is a Fellow at both Cambridge and Oxford and a member of the CGIAR's Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA). In April 2014, the Dutch journal De Economist named him the Netherlands' top economist.