Jacques studied economics at Tilburg University, International Relations at Johns Hopkins and gained his Ph. D. in economics from Tilburg.
Previously, he was a professor of economics at the European University Institute in Florence, at the European Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht and at Maastricht University. Jacques also held the Jan Tinbergen Chair at the College of Europe in Bruges. He has published research with the Council on Foreign relations, Chatham House, WRR (the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy) and the European Institute for Asian Studies (of which he is founding director).
He has also been an advisor to several Asian and European governments, as well as the OECD, the European Commission (was a member of the Cecchini group), ASEAN and UNIDO. He has authored and co-authored a number of studies for the European Parliament (at CEPS) and for the European Commission and published extensively on EU economic integration, ASEAN economic integration, world trade, regulation and technical standards.
Since 1990 Jacques has been Senior Fellow at CEPS, specialising in EU trade and investment policy, the EU single market and the economics and political economy of EU regulation.