SEO Economic Research was founded in 1949 as a research institute of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Amsterdam to encourage applied research. Since the 1980's it has been legally independent from the university, while retaining close links with the academic community.
SEO carries out contract research for ministries and public organisations, private companies and non-profit institutions, nationally and internationally. SEO distinguishes itself from other research bureaus by its analytical approach. Modern economic analysis is applied to practical issues. Empirical questions are tackled with the econometrics toolkit.
SEO is not linked to vested interests or political parties and research questions are approached with an independent scientific mindset. SEO Economic Research is a medium-sized horizontal organisation. It has an academic staff of about 45 economists and econometrists. When a research question has multiple dimensions SEO can call upon specialists from other disciplines - often from within the University of Amsterdam.
SEO Economic Research consists of five research groups or sections organised along fields of economic research.
The first section is Labour Economics & Education which specialises in labour market, labour market policy, schooling and training research. Recent research topics deal with employability, transition from school to work, temporary work, re-integration and exit from unemployment and social assistance, wage differentials, employment benefits, migration, ethnic minorities, career choices and schooling and work.
The section Health Economics & Social Security analyses developments in healthcare and social security, with research often shaped by the highly regulated nature of these two sectors. This section specialises in market analyses, effectiveness and cost-benefit studies and budgeting and costing systems. Major work has been done recently on labour-market reintegration services and on the position of the chronically ill.
Research in the section Regulation & Competition Policy concentrates on the design, analysis and evaluation of competition and government intervention. The section deals with issues related to the structure, conduct and performance of markets and sectors, regulation and deregulation, economic aspects of cartels, mergers, market dominance and other topics in the field of competition. It assesses new or established regulations and policy from the perspective of law and economics.
Starting with the question of how companies relate to others within their own industry, the section Industrial Economics combines findings obtained from research at the sector and individual company levels. The structure of a business sector or a non profit sector is mapped by answering questions such as what kind of businesses are there, how do they profile themselves, to what extent and in what ways do they work together, where do innovations come from, how do they spread and how do they perform financially?
Aviation Economics is a section specialising in aviation economics. It advises governments, airlines, airports, financial institutions and other interested parties on the economic issues related to aviation. Aviation Economics activities include operations research, econometric analyses and forecasting, feasibility studies and research into competition and market issues, as well as work in transport and regional economics.
SEO Economic Research is governed by a seven-member Executive Board. Day-to-day policy is in the hands of the general director and the director and of the management team, which consists of both directors and the section heads. SEO Economic Research also has an Advisory Board which meets yearly to review its research programme.