About the model
RHOMOLO is the spatial computable general equilibrium model of the European Commission focusing on EU regions. It has been developed and maintained by the regional economic modelling team at the Directorate-General Joint Research Centre (DG JRC) in cooperation with Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO). It is used for policy impact assessment and provides sector-, region- and time-specific simulations to support to EU policy making on investments and reforms covering a wide array of policies.
RHOMOLO (v2) covers all EU regions, disaggregating their economies into NACE rev.2 sectors, entailing a constant effort on data updating and maintenance. All the monetary transactions in the economy are included in the model as results of agents making optimising decision. Goods and services are consumed by households, government and firms, and are produced in markets that can be perfectly or imperfectly competitive. Spatial interactions between regions are captured through costly trade matrices of goods and services, factor mobility through migration and investments, and knowledge spill-overs. This makes RHOMOLO particularly well suited for analysing policies related to investments in human capital, transport infrastructure and innovation.
RHOMOLO is built following the same micro-founded general equilibrium approach as the national DSGE model QUEST, developed by the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), and is often used in combination with it to provide a breakdown of results by region and sector, taking duly into account the specificities of each model.
The RHOMOLO model is designed for policy impact assessment. The explicitly modelled spatial dimension makes it a unique tool for territorial impact assessment. Spatial interactions between regional economies are captured through trade of goods and services (which is subject to trade costs), income flows, factor mobility and knowledge spillovers, making RHOMOLO particularly well suited for simulating human capital, transport infrastructure, R&D and innovation policies.
About the team
The Regional Economic Modelling team (REMO) is part of the Territorial Development Unit of the Growth & Innovation Directorate in the Directorate-General Joint Research Centre (in short, JRC.B.3), located in Seville, Spain. The team currently consists of Javier Barbero, Andries Brandsma, Martin Christensen, Francesco Di Comite (team leader), Olga Diukanova, Patrizio Lecca, Giovanni Mandras, Damiaan Persyn and Stylianos Sakkas. See the people section below for details and contact information.
A key responsibility of the team is the development, maintenance and use of the RHOMOLO model, a spatial CGE model with a focus on EU regions and sectors developed in cooperation with Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) and used for impact assessment of investment policies and reforms. A web tool has been developed to allow users to have an idea of how the model works by running simple simulations of structural changes (in labour productivity, total factor productivity and transport costs) on a simplified version of RHOMOLO.
In addition, the REMO team provides analytical support to EU policy making by developing regional models and tools to address the needs of different stakeholders, including the other DGs of the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and local authorities. In order to run the model, the REMO team has developed and constantly updates a dataset including a consistent set of EU NUTS2-level economic variables, such as value added, employment, production and consumption for NACE Rev.2 sectors, in addition to information on bilateral trace costs and flows. Our model and dataset are available under request to researchers and practitioners who may need them.
Our analytical focus is on the issues of competitiveness and social cohesion, which are two key pillars for a sustainable and prosperous European Union. A large part of the EU budget is devoted to promote inclusive development and we aim at supporting policy makers in assessing the impact of their choices. Economic impact assessment regional policies is a complex task, not at least because it affects a wide range of macroeconomic variables, including GDP, employment, productivity, budget deficit and trade balance, which are interrelated and affected by a large number of external factors. The use of a general equilibrium model such as RHOMOLO, which accounts for inter-regional and spatial connections, is thus needed to ensure a balanced assessment of the overall consequences of a given policy not only on the regions and sectors targeted, but also on the rest of the economy. Our main contribution to policy making is therefore to create awareness on secondary effects of policies, on their unintended consequences and on their positive spillovers. In doing so, we can interact and collaborate with colleagues in the policy and research areas by translating specific policy proposals into model perturbations and provide an idea of their general equilibrium consequences.
For more information, please use this contact form, or have a look at their personal pages to contact a specific team member.
- Francesco Di Comite is currently the project leader the REMO team. He was awarded his undergraduate degree from Bocconi University, Milan, and his Master and PhD in Economics from the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL). He joined the European Commission in 2011 as a country desk officer for Latvia in DG ECFIN and in 2013 moved to the DG JRC to work on model-based impact assessment of European Cohesion Policy and investments in EU regions. Francesco's main research interests include international trade, industrial organisation, location theory and their applications in the area of external competitiveness measurement, urban economics and regional development.
- Javier Barbero joined the JRC in 2016. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, an MSc in International Economics and a PhD in economics from the same university. His main fields of interest are: Economic Theory, Location Theory, Spatial Economics, New Economic Geography, International Economics, Regional and Urban Economics, Econometrics, Networks, Computational Economics.
- Andries Brandsma worked at the Erasmus University Rotterdam as Assistant Professor at the Macroeconomic Policy group and at the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, before joining the European Commission in 1988. At the commission, he worked on candidate countries and enlargement issues as a deputy head of unit, until joining the JRC in 2001. He holds a PhD in economics from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and a Master's degree in econometrics from the University of Groningen. He has been involved in the development RHOMOLO model since its conception in 2010 and accompanied it from being an abstract idea to a concrete project. His current task is to ensure a harmonious development of the project and to verify the robustness and relevance of the model for policy and scientific purposes. Andries is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Joint Research Centre.
- Martin Christensen joined the JRC in 2013 as Research Fellow at the Information Society Unit where he developed a CGE model for the analysis of the economic impact of public ICT R&D subsidies. In 2016 he moved to the REMO team. Prior to joining JRC, Martin worked as Senior Economist at the Danish Rational Economic Agent Model (DREAM), an independent research unit under the Danish Ministry of Finance. Martin has an MSc in Corporate and International Finance from Durham University and a MA in Economics and Public Administration from Roskilde University. His current work in the REMO team focusses on the modelling of labour market participation, welfare and the modelling of R&D and technological spill-overs.
- Olga Diukanova joined the JRC in 2013. She holds Bachelor and Master Degrees in Applied Mathematics and a PhD in Economics. Olga has 9 years of experience in developing computable general equilibrium models. She works with static, recursive-dynamic, forward-looking and overlapping generations models written in GAMS, GAMS/MPSGE and GEMPACK software. Olga specializes in modelling regional, trade, transport, energy and environmental policies. Her current work with the REMO team includes RHOMOLO model development, policy impact assessment and sensitivity analysis.
- Patrizio Lecca joined the JRC in 2015. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Cagliari and a PhD in economics from the same university. Before joining the European Commission, Patrizio worked at the University of Strathclyde and at the Fraser of Allander Institute in Scotland. His main research interests include regional economics, environmental and energy economics. His current work in the REMO team focuses mainly on general modelling development.
- Giovanni Mandras joined the JRC in 2016. He graduated in Political Science at the University of Sassari, attended the MSc in Economic management and Policy-International Financial Markets at the Strathclyde Business School (UK) and holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Cagliari. Giovanni's research focuses mainly on economic impact analysis with a specific focus on regional economics and macroeconomic modelling. His current work in the REMO team regards the organization of the model data base, and Input Output modelling.
- Damiaan Persyn joined the JRC in 2012. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the Humboldt University in Berlin, separate MSc degrees in economics and statistics from the University of Leuven, and a PhD in economics from the same university. His research centres around labour and capital mobility and labour market imperfections. His current work in the REMO team focusses on the modelling of migration and labour market rigidities, and data visualisation.
- Stylianos Sakkas joined the JRC in September 2016. He holds an undergraduate degree (BSc) in Economic and Regional Development from Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens, an MSc in Economics from Athens University of Economics and Business and a PhD in Economics from the same university. During September 2015 - December he was a Visiting Research Student at the European Institute of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). During the same period he worked as a Research Intern at the Hellenic Observatory of LSE. His research interests include fiscal Policy and public finance , DSGE models and regional development. His current work on the REMO team focuses on the modelling of human capital, and fiscal policy extensions of the RHOMOLO model.
Scientific policy support
- European Commission, 2014. 6th report on economic, social and territorial cohesion: Investing in Europe's Future, 326-337, DG Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission, Brussels.
- Kancs, D., 2013. Model-based support to EU policymaking: Experience of the RHOMOLO model, Science and Technology Options Assessment, European Parliament, Brussels.
- European Commission, 2010. 5th report on economic, social and territorial cohesion: Investing in Europe's Future, 254-255, DG Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission, Brussels.
Peer reviewed journal articles
- Brandsma, A., Kancs, D., Monfort, P. and A. Rillaers (2015). "RHOMOLO: A dynamic spatial general equilibrium model for assessing the impact of cohesion policy", Papers in Regional Science, 94, 197-221.
- Brandsma, A. and D. Kancs (2015). "RHOMOLO: A Dynamic General Equilibrium Modelling Approach to the Evaluation of the European Union's R&D Policies", Regional Studies, 49, 1340-1359.
- Brandsma, A., Kancs, D. and D. Persyn (2014). "Modelling Migration and Regional Labour Markets: An Application of the New Economic Geography Model RHOMOLO", Journal of Economic Integration, 29 (2), 249-271.
- Brandsma, A., Di Comite, F., Diukanova, O., Kancs, D., López-Rodríguez, J., Persyn, D. and L. Potters (2014). "Assessing policy options for the EU Cohesion Policy 2014-2020", Journal of Regional Research, 29, 17-46.
- Di Comite, F. & L. Potters (2014). "Modelling knowledge creation, investment decisions and economic growth in a spatial CGE setting", Journal of Regional Research, 29, 47-75.
- Diukanova, O. and J. López-Rodríguez (2014). "Regional Impacts of non-R&D Innovation Expenditures across the EU Regions: Simulation Results Using the Rhomolo CGE Model", Journal of Regional Research, 29, 91-111.
- Persyn, D., Torfs, W. and D. Kancs (2014). "Modelling regional labour market dynamics: Participation, employment and migration decisions in a spatial CGE model for the EU", Journal of Regional Research, 29, 77-90.
- Ciaian, P. and D. Kancs (2016). "Assessing the Social and Macroeconomic Impacts of Labour Market Integration: A Holistic Approach", Working Papers JRC99645, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission.
- Di Comite, F., Diukanova, O. and D. Kancs (2016). "RHOMOLO Model Manual: A Dynamic Spatial General Equilibrium Model for EU Regions and Sectors", Working Papers JRC96776, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission.
- Di Comite, F., Kancs, D. and W.Torfs (2015). "Macroeconomic Modelling of R&D and Innovation Policies: An application of RHOMOLO and QUEST", Working Papers JRC89558, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission.
- Brandsma, A. and D. Kancs (2015). "RHOMOLO: A Dynamic General Equilibrium Modelling Approach to the Evaluation of the EU's R&D Policies", Working Papers JRC95421, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission.
- Di Comite, F. and D. Kancs (2015). "Macro-Economic Models for R&D and Innovation Policies: A Comparison of QUEST, RHOMOLO, GEM-E3 and NEMESIS", Working Papers JRC94323, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission.
- Thissen, M., Di Comite, F., Kancs, d. and L. Potters (2014). "Modelling Inter-Regional Trade Flows: Data and Methodological Issues in RHOMOLO", Working Papers 02/2014, DG Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission.
- Lopez Bazo, E. and F. Manca (2014). "TFP, R&D and Semi Endogenous Growth in Rhomolo", Working Papers JRC80872, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission.
- Potters, L., Conte, A., Kancs, D. and M. Thissen (2013). "Data Needs for Regional Modelling: A Description of the Data used in Support of RHOMOLO", Working Papers JRC80845, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission.