PhD defence of Ruben de Bliek on Thursday 21 May 2015

On Thursday 21 May 2015 Ruben de Bliek will defend his PhD thesis entitled  ‘Empirical Studies on the Economic Impact of Trust’. Supervisors are professor Justus Veenman (Emeritus Erasmus School of Economics - Erasmus University Rotterdam) and professor Philip Hans Franses (Erasmus School of Economics - Erasmus University Rotterdam). Other members of the Doctoral Committee are professor Dinand Webbink (Erasmus School of Economics - Erasmus University Rotterdam), professor Jack Vromen (Faculty of Philosophy - Erasmus University Rotterdam) and professor Christian Bjørnskov (Aarhus University).

Time and location

The PhD defence will take place in the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam and will start at 15.30 hrs.

About Ruben de Bliek

Ruben de Bliek (1984, Oostburg, The Netherlands) obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Business in 2007 from Erasmus School of Economics - Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. In 2008 he obtained his Master of Science degree in Marketing (Erasmus School of Economics), with a thesis on the role of mirror neurons in consumer choice. In 2010 he finished the master’s program Entrepreneurship, strategy and organization (Erasmus School of Economics). Directly after this, he started his PhD research at the Erasmus Research Institute of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. In his thesis, he worked on investigating the economic impact of interpersonal trust. Ruben presented his work at various national and international conferences (best paper award ICEBI2013), universities (Montpellier, Tilburg, Coventry) and research institutes (NWO, ESRI). His research has been published in several journals and conference proceedings, such as 'Stabiliteit en verandering in Europa' and the Journal of Applied Social Science Studies.

Abstract of 'Empirical studies on the economic impact of trust'

“Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted, or that you cannot be too careful when dealing with strangers?” This survey question is frequently asked to thousands of individuals globally. The aim of this question is to obtain a measure for how trusting individuals are towards people they do not know, but with whom they nonetheless interact. This thesis shows that trust has substantial economic consequences.

Currently, in economics trust is often disregarded. It is difficult to reconcile trusting behavior with the classical view of ‘economic man’ as a completely rational, self-interested being. This thesis includes four studies where this behavioral assumption does not hold, however. In fact, they show that more trust is better in various dimensions. From individual income and the location decision of multinational firms to the productivity and technological development of countries: trust matters. Each study identifies how trust generates economic value, and how large the effect of trust is. Furthermore, the development of trust is modeled to explain why there exist such large differences in trust levels between individuals, regions and countries.

More information

De Bliek’s PhD research project is conducted within the Erasmus Doctoral Programme organized by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), the joint research institute of Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by e-mail:

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