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Throughout my PhD (08-2012 – 12-2017), I pursued interdisciplinary research around the case of voluntary vaccination during a livestock disease epidemic. I studied farmer behaviour from a bidirectional, economic and social-psychological, perspective with input from veterinary epidemiology. I combined my position as a PhD researcher as of 02-2014 with that of a lecturer (0.4 fte) in business economics courses at Wageningen University. This combined job was the stepping stone to becoming an assistant professor as of 01-2018.
The methodology applied in my PhD thesis mainly studied how policy designs based on a voluntary approach can be improved given the heterogeneity in motives of farmers to vaccinate. It included an agent-based modelling approach on the interplay between farmers’ collective behaviour and the disease epidemiology of Bluetongue. This model was used to simulate vaccination scheme designs that differ in expected adverse effects, communication strategies and subsidy levels.
My research now focuses on understanding behaviour in the context of lock-ins that prevent many farmers from transitioning to more sustainable farming systems and practices. I use a variety of methods to assess which levers and instruments are effective in moving farmers to adopt these transitions. Levers and instruments include: nudging and persuasion, trust and norms, and financial incentives.