This thesis focuses on analysing the Dutch dairy farmer behaviour in a changing political environment. The general objective of this research is to analyse the responses of Dutch dairy farmers in the situation of a changing agricultural and environmental policy context (i.e. changes in the subsidy payment system, milk quota abolishment and the reformed Dutch manure policy), thereby taking into account economic as well as non-economic factors. In order to study the research questions, yearly data (from the period 2001 to 2012) on various economic and non-economic variables were gathered.
The analysis methods used are (the evaluation of) an economic simulation experiment, literature study and econometrics. Generally it is found that active Dutch dairy farmers, which are expected to continue farming in the future, followed an expansion strategy. Although the dairy farmers were facing different agricultural policy regulations, their farmer behaviour was almost consistent over the years.