Economic Advice and Rhetoric

Economic Advice and Rhetoric

Why do Consultants Perform Better than Academic Advisers?

Onno Bouwmeester

This book compares the approaches of consultants and academic advisers and provides an in-depth analysis of their advice argumentation. Both compete on the market for economic advice, with consultants enjoying a larger market share and usually obtaining higher fees. However, academics criticize them for overcharging, shallowness, and quick-and-dirty methods. So, are consultants’ clients misled or even cheated? Not necessarily. The book reveals that academics have drawbacks as well; their arguments are less balanced than those of consultants and their estimates contradict each other more.

Chapter 5: Advice on Further Growth of Amsterdam Airport

Onno Bouwmeester

Subjects: business and management, management education, organisation studies, strategic management, education, management education, politics and public policy, public policy


If and how fast Amsterdam Airport should grow is a years-old policy debate. Economic interest groups argue that Amsterdam Airport should grow because of positive economic effects such as increased employment and growth in related industries like trade and transport. Environmental interest groups worry about negative effects such as air pollution, noise and safety. Noise is one of the most controversial issues in this debate, especially for those in the Amsterdam Airport region. Different interest groups react against each other and try to convince policy makers and decision makers. They ask consultants and academic advisers for help. Internal policy advisers from the government, Central Planning Bureau (CPB) and Nationale Rekenkamer are also involved in the debate. Amsterdam Airport’s public owners are the national government and the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. In this case study Amsterdam and the national government are involved in the Amsterdam Airport debate as clients, along with environmental organizations, branch organizations and Amsterdam Airport. Client interests are different and sometimes conflicting. Amsterdam has an interest in Amsterdam Airport’s growth as a shareholder and beneficiary of its economic activity, but it is also a conflicting interest, since Amsterdam and Amsterdam Airport both need land for growth. The growth of Amsterdam Airport implies encroaching on Amsterdam’s borders for future building. Inhabitants of the Amsterdam Airport region have conflicting interests as well. They appreciate the many destinies afforded by a larger Amsterdam Airport, but worry about the increased jet traffic and its related noise, especially during times of rest....

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