PhD scholarship in Applied Economics by INRA, France

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The reduction of the level of chemical inputs in agriculture is a priority for Europe. Farm advisory services are expected to be a major instrument for helping farmers to modify their practices accordingly. However, the recent trend of privatization of these services has resulted in new economic strategies for services suppliers that question their ability to fully meet this objective. When dealing with this issue, most of the researches focus the analysis on the transformation of the front-office activities of advisory services (i.e. the direct interactions between farmers and advisers). Thus, little attention is given to the changes that occur in back-office activities (i.e. R&D investments for backing up new technical solutions). Some preliminary results suggest that the privatization of farm advisory services modifies the ways evidence is produced and assessed in back-office; they suggest that it might result in a loss of robustness of new technical proposals. But these aspects are poorly documented. The goal of the PhD is to contribute to reduce this knowledge gap. The expected results will contribute to building an analytical framework for the analysis of the back-office of advisory services, and to specifying the conditions under which farm advice on input reduction could be based on relevant and robust evidence for various types of farms. The research will focus on the issue of pesticides reduction. It will be grounded on a comparison .

– Applicants, with no restriction on nationality, must hold a Master of Science (M.Sc.) or a Master of Arts (M.A.) or equivalent title in economics. – Language: English (fluent) and French (fluent). he PhD candidate will have a three-years contract in the research team AIDDA (Approche Intégrée du Développement Durable et Agriculture), based in Paris, France. This team belongs to a multidisciplinary research department (Sciences for Action and Development: SAD) of the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA). The PhD supervisor will be Catherine Laurent, economist.

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Deadline: November 30th, 2011

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