Rick van der Ploeg is Professor of Economics at Oxford University and VU Amsterdam. Between 1998 and 2002, he was Dutch secretary of state for culture and media. Van der Ploeg studied at the University of Sussex and gained a PhD at Cambridge. He was Professor in Tilburg and Amsterdam until his 1994 election into Parliament for socialist party PvdA. After his term as a secretary of state, he returned to the world of science with professorships in Florence, Amsterdam and Oxford. He was a columnist for such journals as de Volkskrant and Het Financieele Dagblad, presented various tv shows on science and wrote such works as De economie heeft geen ziel (1991), Een schaap in wolfskleren: opstellen over politiek en economie (1997) and Taxes and the economy (2008, with Willem Vermeend).