Maarten van Ham is a Professor of Urban Renewal, Neighbourhood Change and Housing at OTB-Research for the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and Professor of Human Geography at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He studied Economic Geography at Utrecht University, where he received his MSc in 1998 and his PhD in 2002. Maarten was a visiting Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin (2001 and 2003) and worked at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam before moving to the University of St Andrews in 2006. In St Andrews Maarten was director of research of the Centre for Housing Research (CHR). In 2011 Maarten moved to Delft University of Technology where he has a full chair position.

His research interests can be broadly defined as the causes and consequences of family migration: why do people move residence and what are the consequences of moving for the housing, household and labour career? Initially his research focused on the links between residential location, migration and occupational achievement, including overeducation. In recent years his interests have broadened to include: selective mobility into and out of neighbourhoods; neighbourhood effects (see:; migration and home ownership in Europe; mixed-ethnic unions; and international marriage migration. He currently works on projects in the UK, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania and the Netherlands. Maarten published in international journals such as Environment and Planning A; Urban Studies; Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies; Housing Studies; Demography; Demographic Research; Regional Studies; Population, Space and Place; Applied Economics Quarterly; Journal of Urban Economics. In 2014 Maarten has won an ERC grant. See:

He joined IZA as a Research Fellow in March 2009.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 5277
published in: [Environment and Planning A], 2011, 43 (11), 2742-2760

Many theories of residential mobility contend that individuals express a sequence of moving desires, intentions and expectations prior to moving. Much research has investigated how individuals form these pre-move thoughts, with a largely separate literature examining actual mobility. Only a few studies have attempted to link pre-move thoughts to subsequent...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5271
published in: Van Ham M., Manley D., Bailey N., Simpson L., Maclennan D. (eds.), [Neighbourhood Effects Research: New Perspectives] (Chapter 7), Springer Dordrecht, 2012, 147-173

This paper investigates whether individuals living in neighbourhoods with high concentrations of unemployment are less likely to enter work if they are unemployed and more likely to lose their job if they are employed. The main challenge in the neighbourhood effects literature is the identification of causal neighbourhood effects. A...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5238
published in: [Environment and Planning A], 2011, 43 (6) 2, 1381-1399

Although we know a lot about why households choose certain dwellings, we know relatively little about the mechanisms behind neighbourhood choice. Most studies of neighbourhood choice only focus on one or two dimensions of neighbourhoods: typically poverty and ethnicity. This paper argues that neighbourhoods have multiple dimensions and that models...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5193
published in: Van Ham M., Manley D., Bailey N., Simpson L., Maclennan D. (eds.), [Neighbourhood Effects Research: New Perspectives] (Chapter 4), Springer Dordrecht, 2012, 79-99

The number of studies investigating neighbourhood effects has increased rapidly over the last two decades. Although many of these studies claim to have found evidence for neighbourhood effects, most 'evidence' is likely the result of reversed causality. The main challenge in modelling neighbourhood effects is the (econometric) identification of causal...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5115
published in: Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 2013, 28 (1), 129-146

One of the goals of the Right to Buy (RTB) was to stimulate labour migration by removing the debilitating effect of social housing on geographical mobility. This is the first study to examine rigorously whether the Right to Buy legislation did indeed 'free-up' those in social housing who bought their...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 4797
published as 'Migration, Occupational Mobility, and Regional Escalators in Scotland' in: [Urban Studies Research], 2012 (2012), Article ID 827171

This paper seeks to unpick the complex effects of migration, country of birth, and place of residence in Scotland on individual success in the labour market. We pay specific attention to the labour force experience of English-born residents in Scotland, whom the cross sectional literature suggests are more likely to...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 4094
published as 'The effect of neighbourhood housing tenure mix on labour market outcomes: a longitudinal investigation of neighbourhood effects' in: Journal of Economic Geography, 2010, 10 (2), 257 - 282

This paper investigates the effect of different levels of neighbourhood housing tenure mix on transitions from unemployment to employment and the probability of staying in employment for those with a job. We used individual level data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS), a 5.3% sample of the Scottish population, covering...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 1220
published in: [Applied Economics Quarterly], 2004, 50 (4), 363 - 378

We analyze the effects of regional structures on females’ willingness to work as well as on the probability that non-employed women who are willing to work actually will engage in job search. Special permission was granted to link regional data to individual respondents in the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Results...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 1034
published in: [Regional Studies], 2006, 40(3), 1-12

We analyze the effects of regional structures on both females’ willingness to work and the probability of being employed for those willing to work. Special permission was granted to link regional data to individual respondents in the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). Results of a bivariate probit model correcting for sample...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 424
published in: [Journal of Urban Economics], 2003, 53 (3), 482-493

For most workers, access to suitable employment is severely restricted by the fact that they look for jobs in the regional labour market rather than the global one. In this paper we analyse how macro-level opportunities (regional labour market characteristics) and microlevel restrictions (the extent to which job searchers are...