Leon Bremer
PhD Candidate


I am a PhD candidate at the department of Spatial Economics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), where I am supervised by Carolyn Fischer and Henri de Groot. I started my PhD in September 2019 after finishing my MPhil degree at the Tinbergen Institute.

My research focuses on the interactions of innovation, adoption, competition and the environment. I use empirical methods to answer my research questions. I work with patent data, firm financial data, survey data, and administrative firm-level microdata.

I am excited about code and automation, which find their way into my projects and my teaching. On a daily basis I work with Python, R and LaTeX.

Since January 2019 I am involved with teaching Bachelor and Master courses, first as a student assistant and now as a PhD candidate. I also supervise MSc theses of students in the STREEM and Economics master programs.

Before moving to Amsterdam I did a Bachelor and Master in Economics at Tilburg University and I did a traineeship at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

In my spare time I enjoy sports like running and (indoor) football.

Research projects

Energy prices, competition, and environment-related innovation

This project combines the literature on induced innovation and the literature on the relation between competition and innovation. Using patent data I find some evidence that energy input prices, electricity and natural gas prices, positively affect environment-related innovation on the firm level. This relationship strengthens under more fierce market competition for electricity prices. For gas prices this relationship weakens with market competition. Additionally, I find no strong evidence for an inverted-U relationship between competition and innovation.

The project uses a promising technique of fuzzy string matching to link databases based on text data.

EU ETS (joint work)

Using microdata we estimate the effect of the EU ETS on Dutch manufacturing firms. We take into account the heterogeneity of the ETS's phases 1-3 and make time-variant estimates.

Energy Efficiency survey (joint work)

With the help of ASI's Seed Money funding, we are setting out a firm survey to obtain insights in the drivers and barriers that play a role in firms' energy efficiency investment decisions. We further focus on labor market challenges, the role of innovation, and knowledge networks.

Connect with my research

Teaching & supervision

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • 2019, 2020, 2021: Academic Skills (1st year BSc Economics and Business Economics)
  • 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022: Environmental Economics (MSc STREEM)
  • 2019, 2020, 2021: Inclusive Growth and Sustainability (3rd year BSc elective)
  • 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022: Supervision of Research Projects (MSc STREEM, MSc Economics)
  • 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022: Supervision of MSc theses (MSc STREEM, MSc Economics)

Tinbergen Institute

  • 2019: Microeconomics IV: Behavioral Economics (MPhil Economics)


The School of Business and Economics offered teacher training for PhD candidates. I have taken all three modules and am finishing the reports. This will allow short-tracking the Dutch University Teaching Qualification (BKO).

Short CV

Previous education

  • 2017-19: MPhil Economics @ Tinbergen Institute
  • 2015-17: MSc Economics @ Tilburg University
  • 2012-15: BSc Economics and Business Economics @ Tilburg University

Previous work experience

  • 2019: Teaching assistant @ VU Amsterdam & Tinbergen Institute
  • 2016-17: Trainee @ European Central Bank
  • 2013-16: Working student @ ONS Accountants

Personal goals

  • Get a PhD in economics
  • Master a third language (Spanish, German)
  • Run a marathon

Full CV

Built by Leon