Examples of MSc and BSc thesis

PAP has (co-)supervised master and bachelor theses from different study programs.

For examples of completed master theses, see the below links for the programmes MID, MIL, MME, MAS, MES and MLP.

For examples of completed bachelor theses, see below for BIN and BEB programmes.

More examples can be found at: http://library.wur.nl/WebQuery/theses

Examples of MSc thesis



Bernadette van Doorn (MID 2014) “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”

At  the  ninth  Ministerial  Conference  (MC9)  of  the World  Trade  Organization  (WTO),  December  2013, member states reached for the first time in the organization’s history a multilateral trade deal,  referred  as  the  ‘Bali  Package’.  This  deal  meant  a  breakthrough  in  the  overall  Doha  Development  Round  (DDR)  negotiations.  Although  many  scholars  and  experts  have  argued  in recent years that the decision-making system was too complex for concluding agreements, the WTO membership had proved that it was able to conclude a multilateral deal within its existing structure.  This  thesis  aims  to  unravel  this  mystery  by  analysing  the  WTO’s  decision-making  system  and  its  underlying  processes  during  the  negotiations  towards  MC9.  It  further  aims  to contribute  to  the  academic  debates  on  complex  decision-making  within  both  the  scholarly  disciplines of International Relations and Sociology/Public Administration.  

This  analysis  is  based  on  the  sociological  concept  of  policy  networks,  games  and  rules.  On  the  basis  of  these  concepts,  this  thesis  unfold  the  ‘rules  of  the  game’  existing  in  the  complex decision-making  processes  during  the  MC9  negotiations.  In  particular  the  final  four  months  of  the negotiations were found to be crucial. Therefore, this thesis analyses the extent in which the ‘rules of the game’ changed the decision-making processes in the final four months of the MC9 negotiations and if these changes could explain the breakthrough in these negotiations. 

The study reveals that, in order to understand complex decision-making processes of the WTO, it is needed to look ‘behind’ the formal rules by including informal rules in the analyses. Most notable  changes  in  the  final  four  months  seemed  to  be  the  exceptional  concessions  and  flexibilities member states gave in the final negotiation weeks. This required political will and it was  clear  that  it  is  needed  to  find  consensus  at  different  levels  within  different  negotiation  settings.  In  this  respect,  most  remarkable  finding  related  to  the  consequences  regarding  the increasing  power  of  the  newly  installed  Director-General  (DG)  during  the  final  four  months.  Nonetheless,  external  influences  such  as  geopolitical,  geo-economical  and  domestic circumstances also played an important role in the conclusion of MC9. It is therefore concluded that the ‘rules of the game’ changed the decision-making processes during the final four months of the MC9 negotiations and that this change contributed to the breakthrough of the WTO MC9 negotiations.  

Furthermore,  the  case  study  reveals  that  complex  decision-making  takes  place  most  clearly  at  the  multilateral  context  and  therefore  the  sociological  concept  of  complex  decision-making should focus more on the multilateral stage. It is therefore argued that in order to understand complex decision-making and the underlying interaction processes on a multilateral level, it is needed  to  combine  both  the  scholarly  disciplines  of  International  Relations  and  Sociology,  because  the  analysis  has  to  include  both  the  analytical  level  of  the  individuals (diplomats/delegates  and  the  DG)  in  order  to  understand  their  interactions  as  well  as  at  the  abstract level of states in order to understand the negotiation positions.   

Rosa de Vos (MID CTP: 2013) Palm oil disputes in West-Kalimantan. The politics of scale in processes of dispute resolution. An empirical research on dispute resolution strategies in Sambas district

Abstract: The ever-growing demand for palm oil has initiated drastic changes in rural areas of Indonesia. In West-Kalimantan, the large-scale expansion of oil palm plantations has intensified competition over land and natural resources. This has triggered (violent) disputes between local communities and palm oil companies. In response to concerns about the environmental and social impacts of oil palm expansion, stakeholders of the sector and actors from civil society initiated international sustainability standards. These standards may provide new opportunities for dispute resolution, but at the same time their vigour is restricted by the local contexts in which land disputes are embedded. Using politics of scale theory, this thesis explores dispute resolution strategies of an NGO in West-Kalimantan. It is examined how scale frames and counter-scale frames are strategically constructed to link palm oil-related grievances with scales at which they can be addressed. A case study on two palm oil-related land disputes in Sambas district shows that these disputes are deeply embedded in local politics and power relations. To some extent international sustainability standards can be used to facilitate negotiations between communities and companies and monitor compliance with agreements. However, structural solutions for palm oil disputes are to be found at district level.



Perez Mostha Agujetas (MIL, 2012) Framing issues at different scales of watershed management in Benanain watershed, Timor, Indonesia



Sophia Argyropolous (MME, 2014) Changing diets for the sake of biodiversity: exploring the frames, practices and strategies for transitions to healthy and sustainable diets.

Abstract: The ever-growing demand for food has intensified agriculture, posing a strain on biodiversity levels. Such demand is characterized by diets that have become uniform, containing higher levels of energy--‐dense foods than necessary. Although there is enough food produced around the world in aggregate to curb hunger and promote nutritional health, malnutrition is still prevalent. Moreover, growing evidence of the rising malnutrition paradox is present in countries still grappling with the effects of hunger. In response to concerns about unhealthy and unsustainable dietary patterns, different organizations are creating and sharing knowledge on how transitions in diets towards healthy ones can also have indirect, positive effects on biodiversity. By exploring diverse themes that are emerging from discourses on healthy and sustainable diets and biodiversity, different frames are connecting these concepts, making them more salient for consumers. This thesis explores which practices and related strategies could be used for transitions to healthy and sustainable diets. Four case studies were analyzed for this thesis. Empirical analysis conducted for one particular case is based on interviews collected during three months of field research in Bra, Italy. Among the four case studies, it is shown that transitions for healthy and sustainable diets rest not entirely on the individual choices of the consumer but also on the food system that directs consumer choice. Rather, for such diets to become a widespread practice necessitates a myriad of strategies from diverse coalitions of actors. In this way 'changing the normalcy' by identifying and altering the signposts may result in different consumer choices that benefit personal health as well as biodiversity. The food and nutrition security frame as well as the right to food frame may serves as entry points for possibly scaling-up initiatives for transitions to healthy and sustainable diets in light of biodiversity concerns.

Full text: http://edepot.wur.nl/319178


Robert Proos (MME, 2011) Collaborative Governance in the Dutch CAP-debate. An evaluation of the collaborative governance arrangement regarding the CAP-reform stakeholder dialogue organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation

Abstract: The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) accounts for more than 40% of the EU

budget and is often perceived as a successful example of communitarian organized policy, which currently faces a major reform. The Dutch Ministry of EAI organized a stakeholder dialogue to include a broad variety of actors in the policy development process. This research uses collaborative governance theory and general participation literature to investigate the Dutch stakeholder dialogue from 2007 onwards. The collaborative model and specific design elements

provide explanations for the direction of the policy development process regarding the Dutch vision on the post 2013 CAP reform.

Full text: http://edepot.wur.nl/210395



Olawale Olaniyan (MAS, 2012) Influence of international agreements on national policy. A case study of the Dutch policy on farm animal biodiversity

Abstract: The increasing interrelatedness of States in the arena of global governance has favoured the development of international norms (laws, rules, regulations and agreements). This study aims to examine the influence of international agreements that address farm animal biodiversity on the national policy using Netherlands as a case study. The Dutch policy document titled “Sources of Existence” and the progress reports on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Resources (CBD) and the Food and Agricultural Organization Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO-Plan) were reviewed using keyword search and content analysis. The key officials concerned with the implementation of the two agreements were selected through a snowball sampling procedure and interviewed using semi-structured open-ended questions. It was discovered that national interest expressed in terms of economic, demographic and political rationales is a major factor that determines the influence of the investigated agreements on the Dutch government. Furthermore, the compliance to such agreements is justified in terms of motivation and capacity to comply rather than the varying degrees of obligation which accompanies them. The international agreement either in its hard or soft form provides a medium through which the Dutch government is able to identify and promote a common policy course at both the national and international levels. Meanwhile, the specificity of those agreements with regard to farm animal biodiversity provides an additional dimension to examine them on the legalization continuum.

(Co)Supervisor: Dr. Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen



Adriettë Sneep (MES, 2012) Climate Gate - the Indian Case

Supervisor: Dr Otto Hospes



Juichieh Liu (MLP: 2013) Ecosystem services valuation mechanism for community-based landscape planning

Incorporating ecological knowledge in landscape planning is believed to make landscape plans become more environmentally sustainable. By involving stakeholders in the planning process, community-based planning becomes a forum of value. I regard ecosystem services valuation as a potential tool to facilitate interdisciplinary cooperation of ecological science and landscape planning. For the purpose of valuation, I focus on the value issue to 1) re-conceptualize ecosystem services as function-benefit-value chain linking ecosystems and human wellbeing; 2) examine the role of value in and  the key features of community based planning. The valuation mechanism is proposed as an alternative approach other than mainstream economic valuation methods. It presents an explorative way to assess the value of ecosystem services in the planning  process and from the perspective of multidimensional human wellbeing.

Full text: http://edepot.wur.nl/259027

Examples of BSc thesis



Anneloes Pronk (BIN, CTP 2013) The Netherlands. Still standing? The  role of the Netherlands in European institutional changes

Abstract: The aim of the research is to create a picture of the role the Netherlands has had on the development of EU institutions. This, through looking at the Dutch role in two different bargaining rounds preceding two important European treaties: the Rome treaty on the European Economic Community from 1957 and the Lisbon treaty amending the treaty on the European Union and the treaty on the Functioning of the European Union from 2007.

Main question of the research: What has been the role of the Netherlands in European institutional changes?

The Dutch role in European institutional change is more positive than one might expect. In both treaties the Netherlands played a forerunner role. The Netherlands is one of the six architects of the institutional structure of the EU. The Dutch demands in the negotiations on the Rome treaty laid the foundation for a combination of supranational and intergovernmental European institutions. In the Lisbon treaty, the Netherlands achieved all of its goals, though those goals were not ambitious. They could have tried to get more out of their strong negotiation position.

(co)supervisor: Dr Gerard Breeman

Jan-Dirk Dingemanse (BIN CTP, 2012) Local air pollution and the human rights doctrine. An exploration into the duties of States

Abstract: The environment and social life adversely affect each other. Solutions can be sought in the linkage between the two: the Human Rights Doctrine might represent duties concerning an environmental issue such as local air pollution. Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone in the troposphere and Aerosols are three sorts of pollutants that have a big share in local air pollution issues. They both affect human lives seriously and are produced for a considerable portion by anthropogenic sources. The Human Rights Doctrine consists of many bodies and documents. Within the different rights provided by the Doctrine, especially the Right to Health and the Right to Adequate Housing can be connected to local air pollution. While there are exceptions on the immediate realization of the duties to respect, protect and fulfil these rights, the Human Rights Doctrine renders also specific duties that should be followed in any circumstance. Taken together the Human Rights Doctrine specifies an extensive set of duties concerning local air pollution. Special Rapporteurs, living representations of the Human Rights Doctrine, do not seem to refer to these duties up to the same extent.

(co)supervisor: Dr Otto Hospes



Renske van der Maten (BEB, 2010): Drugsbeleid in de media De woelige jaren negentig?

(co)supervisor: Dr Gerard Breeman


Koert Verkerk (BEB, 2012): To Sow and Harvest, European Agricultural Lobby after Lisbon (co) supervisor: Dr Gerard Breeman