Bernard van Praag studied Econometrics at the UvA and graduated cum laude in 1964, after which he became an academic staff member at the Econometrics Institute of the Nederlandsche Economische Hogeschool of Rotterdam. He obtained his doctorate degree cum laude at the University of Amsterdam in 1968. After teaching Econometrics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, he became reader in Economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and was appointed professor of Economics at the University of Leiden in 1972. Van Praag became professor of Mathematical Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1984. He was appointed professor of Applied Economics at the University of Amsterdam in 1992 and managing director of the Foundation for Economic Research.
A number of Van Praag’s PhD students are now prominent professors. Van Praag has been attached to the Tinbergen Institute since 1987, of which he was co-founder, first director and currently fellow. From 1988 to 1993, he was member of the (Dutch) Scientific Council for Government Policy, a prominent advisory body for the Dutch government on long-term policy issues, and was furthermore member of a number of other councils such as the Dutch Social Economic Council.