PhD Position 'A behavioural economics approach to understanding dairy farmers' investment behaviour in an uncertain policy context'

Gepubliceerd op
26 juni 2018
Locatie Wageningen
Expertisegebied Economics
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We are looking for

Job description
The Business Economics (BEC) group wants to start up a PhD project on the understanding of investment behaviour, specifically of dairy farmers. Theories and methods from two fields, namely Finance and Human judgement and decision making (Behavioural economics) should be explored and used in this project. The project should result in publishable research output and elements for a new academic course to be developed on the aforementioned topic. 
Dutch dairy farmers have made significant investment and disinvestment decisions in the past decade, largely driven by the changing policy context. Farmers anticipated on the announced abolishment of the EU quota system on 1 April 2015 by investing in stable capacity and land, while others decided to exit farming and sell their assets.
Economic studies at the macro level predicted a substantial increase in the national milk production after the quota abolishment. This became apparent in 2016 when the sector rapidly exceeded the national ceiling of phosphate production. New policies and regulations were implemented in 2017 with the goal to reduce the number of dairy cows. Many farmers who recently expanded, were forced to shrink their herd size, resulting in negative consequences such as economic losses and financial distress. Milk production is going to be regulated via manure policies and regulations, while farmers have to work with a new management instrument called the Annual Nutrient Cycle Assessment (‘Kringloopwijzer’ in Dutch) to monitor, account for and improve nutrients use.
Economic studies at the micro level have suggested that it would be optimal for Dutch dairy farmers to expand production after the quota abolishment, but a precautionary conclusion ex-post may be that dairy farmers did not sufficiently account for the sector level consequences of the investment behaviour of other dairy farmers and for the uncertainty from e.g. institutional risks.

We ask

We invite applications for the PhD position entitled: ‘A behavioural economics approach to understanding dairy farmers’ investment behaviour in an uncertain policy context’. The candidate should (1) hold an MSc degree in a discipline relevant to the PhD project, (2) have proven excellent analytical and writing skills, (3) have knowledge of quantitative methods, (4) have passion for doing research. Affinity with agriculture is an advantage.

We offer

Conditions of employment
In principle this is a 48 month PhD position. We offer you a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended with 30 months after a positive evaluation.  Salary will increase from € 2,222 gross per month in the first year up to € 2,840 in the last year, based on a full-time appointment (38 hours a week). In addition, we offer a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-the-year bonus of 8.3% of your annual salary.

More information

Additional information
For further information about the vacancy, please contact dr. Jaap Sok ( or prof. Alfons Oude Lansink (
To apply for this position upload your CV and a letter of motivation before September 15, 2018.
This call may close before the deadline in case a suitable candidate is found.
For this position you can only apply online:
Acquisition regarding this vacancy is not appreciated.

We are

BEC holds a strong position in interdisciplinary research with key areas, such as food supply chain economics, bio-economic modelling, and economics of animal health, food safety and plant health. Also, BEC is active in measuring and modelling performance and risk management of agro-supply chains and farms. Research is commissioned and funded by the Dutch government, the EU, non-governmental organisations, food processors, wholesalers, feed companies, pharmaceutical companies as well as banks, insurance companies and agricultural accountants.
BEC is part of the Wageningen University and Research (Wageningen UR). Wageningen UR aims to deliver a substantial contribution to the quality of life by searching for answers to issues affecting society - such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Every day, 6,500 people work on 'the quality of life', turning ideas into reality.