History and Data


CORE was founded in Leuven in 1966 at the initiative of Jacques Drèze, who is considered its founding father, Anton Barten and Guy de Ghellinck. Initially, the center existed within the Catholic University of Leuven. Following its split in 1968 to form the Dutch-speaking Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the French-speaking Université catholique de Louvain, CORE moved to Louvain-la-Neuve in 1977 to join the latter.

CORE, the creation of which was inspired by the Cowles Foundation as well as the other institutions that Jacques Drèze had visited during his research work in the United States, brought economic modelling to Europe. Being a pioneer in the domain, CORE propelled Belgian and European economic research, which was very "local" at that time, into development. The center modernized it through the economic knowledge and research practices imported from the United States and contributed to its internationalization, while at the same time creating a local economic culture in Europe, e.g., through disequilibrium economics, which can be considered a French ‘trademark’ in macroeconomics. Another element of the continental economic culture was the development of specific research forms, such as research teams, co-authorship and peer review.

In 1966, CORE opened its doors with four academic members and three researchers on the staff. For comparison, the center now hosts around 40 faculty members including emeritus professors, 26 associate fellows and research associates as well as over 40 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers.

In 1967, CORE received a five-year grant from the Ford Foundation, which propelled the center into rapid development by attracting faculty members and visitors. These researchers including Gérard Debreu, Truman Bewley, Hildegard Dierker, Birgit Grodal, David Schmeidler, Karl Vind and Werner Hildenbrand gained CORE international recognition in the field of mathematical economics. The time of the Ford grant coincided with the epoch of "Neo-Walrasian" economics at CORE, which also started the differentiation of disciplines. While initially the research fields were integrated, at that time, there appeared the complementary but independent disciplines of mathematical economics, operations research and econometrics. After the division of the disciplines, disequilibrium economics became the major and most influential research area at CORE differentiating the center from the US practices and establishing it as a specific school in macroeconomics.

By 1973, when the Ford grant ended, CORE had expanded its permanent faculty to 21 members with about as many visitors. The maintenance of the center was taken over by the university, supported by external funding through various research contracts with the Belgian government and different organizations. With the disciplines becoming more and more differentiated, mathematical programming and econometrics, initially minor fields, also developed and became important research areas at CORE. Thus, Bayesian econometrics can be considered a trademark of the center, sometimes referred to as the "Belgian Bayesian School".

In 1977, CORE expanded into training activities by the creation of the European Doctoral Program in Quantitative Economics, later joined by the other partners. In 1985, the European Economic Association was created at the initiative of Jacques Drèze (who became its first president), Jean Gabszewicz, Louis Phlips, fr:Jacques Thisse, and Jean Waelbroeck.

Today, CORE's major research fields include economics, game theory, operations research, quantitative and economic geography. Its main objectives are fostering quality research, developing networking connections for scientific exchange and collaboration, training young doctoral and postdoctoral researchers as well as making professionals in the public and private sector benefit from scientific knowledge.

Among the scientific distinctions received by CORE members are: Lanchester Prize, Francqui Prize, Francqui Chair, EURO Gold Medal, Honoris Causa Doctorate, Dantzig Prize, John von Neumann Theory Prize, European Prize in Regional Science, Robert C. Witt Award, De la Vega Prize, Walter Isard Award, Kulp-Wright Book award, Wernaers Prize, Social Choice and Welfare Prize, Emile de Laveleye Prize, William Alonso Memorial Prize, Ferdinand de Lesseps Prize, Risques–Les Echos Prize, SIAM Activity Group on Optimization Prize, etc., various thesis awards (Savage Award, Ernst Meyer Prize, Sogesci-BVWB Prize, Orbel Award, etc.) as well as (honorary) memberships and fellowships within different academic, research and other institutions.

Jacques Drèze: University of Essex, United Kingdom, 1980
Jacques Drèze: Université Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne), France, 1980
Jacques Drèze: Université de Liège, Belgium, 1983
Jacques Drèze: Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium, 1985
Jacques Drèze: Norges Handelshoyskole, Bergen, Norway, 1988
Jacques Drèze: Università di Bologna, Italy, 1988
Jacques Drèze: Université de Genève, Switzerland, 1988
Jacques Drèze: Universität Basel, Switzerland, 1988
Jacques Drèze: University of Chicago, USA, 1991
Jacques Drèze: Université d'Aix-Marseille, France, 1992
Jacques Drèze: Université Cergy-Pontoise, France, 1999
Jacques Drèze: Universita di Bologna, Italy, 2000
Claude d'Aspremont: Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France, 2002
Jacques Drèze: European University Institute, Firenze, Italy, 2002
Jacques Drèze: Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, Lisboa, Portugal, 2003
Jean J. Gabszewicz: Université d’Aix-Marseille II, France, 2003
Jacques Drèze: Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands, 2005
Jacques Drèze: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain, 2008
Jacques Thisse: Université Paris-Panthéon-Assas, France, 2010
Jacques Thisse: Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan, France , 2010
Jacques Thisse: Université Jean Monet, Saint-Etienne, France, 2011
Jacques Drèze: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2015
François Maniquet: Poverty, Resource Equality, and Social Policies (ERC-AdG-2010), 1/06/2011-31/05/2017
Pierre Pestieau: 1989
Claude d'Aspremont: 1995
François Maniquet: 2010
Yurii Nesterov: 2009
Laurence Wolsey: 2012
Yurii Nesterov: 2000
Laurence Wolsey: 2012
Jacques Drèze : Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, 1970-1971
Jacques Drèze: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, 1982-1983
Louis Phlips: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, 1988-1989
Victor Ginsburgh: Université de Liège, Belgium, 1992-1993
Jacques Thisse: Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur Belgium, 1999-2000
Laurence Wolsey: Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur Belgium, 2001-2002
Luc Bauwens: Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur Belgium, 2004-2005
François Maniquet: Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, Bruxelles, Belgium, 2010
Paul Belleflamme: Université de Liège, Belgium, 2013
Isabelle Thomas: Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium, 2015
Jean J. Gabszewicz: 1979
Jean-François Richard: 1980
Paul Champsaur : 1981
Jean-François Mertens: 1981
Claude d'Aspremont: 1984
Jean J. Gabszewicz: 2004
Jacques Drèze: Prix des Alumni, Belgium, 1964
Jacques Drèze: Honorary member of the American Economic Association, 1976
Jacques Drèze: Foreign Honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1978
Jean-François Richard: Prix des Alumni, Belgium, 1964
Jacques Drèze: Foreign Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1980
Luc Bauwens: Leonard J. Savage Thesis Award, 1984
Anton Barten: Erik Kemps Prize in Memory of T. Palander, 1986
Laurence Wolsey: Triennal Orchard-Hayes Prize of the Mathematical Programming Society, 1988
Laurence Wolsey: Lanchester Prize of Operations Research, 1989
Henry Tulkens: Prix Ferdinand de Lesseps, Paris, 1990
Jacques Drèze: Prix Emile de Laveleye, Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux Arts de Belgique, 1993
Jacques Drèze: Foreign Associate, National Academy of Science, Washington, 1993
Yves Smeers: Award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Profession” of the International Association of Energy Economics, 1995
Yves Smeers: Honoray Research Fellow at the Centre for Petroleum and Mineral Law Policy at the University of Dundee, United Kingdom
Jacques Drèze: International Prize for the Economics of Insurance funded by Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni, Roma, Italy, 1999
François Maniquet: Social Welfare Prize, 2004
François Maniquet: Annual Koç University Prize for the best paper published in the Review of Economic Design, 2004
Jacques Thisse: William Alonso Memorial Prize, Seattle, USA, 2004
Jacques Thisse: Prix Solvany, FNRS, Belgium, 2005
Sébastien Van Bellegem:  Prix Marie-Jeanne Laurent-Duhamel, 2005
Pierre Pestieau: Prix Risques - Les Echos, 2006
Jacques Thisse: European Prize in Regional Science, 2007
Jacques Thisse: Walter Isard Award, 2010
Claude d'Aspremont: Economic Theory Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), 2011
Pierre Pestieau: Honorary Degree at Uppsala Universiteit, Sweden, 2011
Paul Belleflamme: Prix Wernaers, 2012
Isabelle Thomas: Compagnie du Bois Sauvage Prize, Fondation Louvain, Belgium, 2012
Yves Smeers: Informs fellow, 2012
Jean Hindriks: Expert of the year 2014, Magazine Lobby
Luc Bauwens: SoFiE Fellow, 2015
François Maniquet: Walloon Officer of Merit, 2015
Isabelle Thomas: Distinguished speaker at the Transport Lecture Series, University of Hong Kong, 2015
Leopold Simar: Fellow of the Journal of Econometrics, 2015
Julio Davila: Fernand Braudel Fellow, European University Institute, 2016
Léopold Simar: Econometric Theory Multa Scripsit Award, 2016