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Monday, 25 January 2021 06:09

In memory of Professor Johannes Bröcker (1950-2021)

Johannes brockerJohannes Bröcker, a long-time member of RSAI, passed away after a short illness on January 19, 2021 at the age of 70.  He was an active member of ERSA and a regular participant in the German-speaking section.  He served on the editorial boards of several journals, most prominently the Annals of Regional Science and Spatial Economic Analysis.  His undergraduate degree was from Freiburg and his master and doctoral degrees and habilitation were from Kiel.  With the exception of the period from 1990-2000 when he served as the Chair in Macroeconomics and Regional Science at the University of Dresden, his career was centered in Kiel.  His last appointment, dating from 2000 until he retired in 2015, was as Chair in International and Regional Economics.

Johannes was a brilliant theoretical and applied spatial economist; his advisor, Karin Peschel, (who sadly passed away in June 2020) had worked with Andreas Predhöl on her doctorate and with Rolf Funck on her habilitation and she imbued that strong German location theory tradition in Johannes’ work that later included his support and active participation in the August Lösch Prize committee.  Johannes was the progenitor of the development of spatial computable general equilibrium models and the work reflected his firm foundation in location theory (Bröcker, 1995) where he drew on the work of Lösch and Chamberlin and in the formulation of flows in multi-economy models (Bröcker, 1989).  Subsequently, he provided some integration of general equilibrium and transportation systems (Bröcker and Mercenier, 2011).  However, one of his most highly cited articles (Bröcker, 1988) developed an operational spatial computable equilibrium model building up from Arrow-Debreu equilibrium under perfect competition.  The model was promoted as one that was both transparent and parsimonious (in terms of the number of equations) and perfectly illustrated Johannes’ ability to move effectively from strong theoretical foundations through empirical implementation.  This model and subsequent version were used in a wide variety of applications assessing the impacts of infrastructure investment (especially transportation), transport and trade policy and the impacts of cohesion policies.

He loved to attend meetings and seminars where he enjoyed asking penetrating, imaginative questions; one sensed that he enjoyed being a scholar and the enthusiasm for his work resonated strongly in his publications. 

Geoffrey J.D. Hewings
Emeritus Director, Regional Economics and Applications Laboratory
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

References

  • Johannes Bröcker (1985) “Partial equilibrium theory of interregional trade and the gravity model,” Papers of the Regional Science Association 66, 7– 18.
  • Johannes Bröcker (1995) “Chamberlinian spatial computable general equilibrium modelling: a theoretical framework,” Economic Systems Research, 7, 137–149.
  • Johannes Bröcker (1998) “Operational Spatial Computable General Equilibrium Modelling,” Annals of Regional Science, 32, 367–387.
  • Johannes Bröcker and Jean Mercenier (2011) “General Equilibrium Models for Transportation Economics,” in André de Palma, Robin Lindsey, Emile Quinet, and Roger Vickerman (eds.) Handbook of Transport Economics Vol. 1, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, pp. 21–45.

Obituary on the website of the Institute for Environmental, Resource and Spatial Economics at Kiel University available at http://www.re2.uni-kiel.de/en/documents-pictures/obituary-prof-dr-johannes-brocker

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