PhD position Environmental Economics

Research / Academic

The Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) has a new full-time four-year position for a doctoral (PhD) candidate in the field of environmental economics. You will become part of a new 4-year interdisciplinary research project funded by IVM that aims to study the potential of voluntary carbon offsets to mitigate individual dietary emissions, and the different ways to increase people’s willingness to pay for them. While voluntary carbon offsets have been studied extensively in the context of flying behaviours, little is known about their potential of influencing other individual behaviours like diets. Further, amidst growing concerns about their additional effects, there is sparse literature on citizens’ ability to assess such offsetting schemes and their willingness to pay for them. The PhD researcher will investigate and study the following research questions:

  • What factors explain people’s willingness to buy voluntary carbon offsets generally and can they be applied to carbon-intensive diets, such as meat and dairy?
  • How can we boost people’s abilities to evaluate food sustainability and their understanding of how to offset emissions from their diets?
  • How can we steer people’s willingness to offset their dietary emissions?
  • Do individual dietary carbon offsets result in related good behaviours, such as greener energy consumption or lower waste?
  • To what extent do individual dietary carbon offsets really offset individual dietary emissions?

This PhD project will be supervised by Dr Sanchayan Banerjee, Dr Thales A. Pupo West, and Prof. Pieter van Beukering.

An important part of the project is the ability to design and administer randomised controlled trials, using different platforms, such as in the field, lab or online. The ideal candidate should, therefore, possess a strong quantitative background in statistics and have the desire to learn advanced experimental econometric techniques.

Your duties

  • publication of research results in international peer-reviewed journals and policy-oriented journals, culminating in a dissertation at the end of the project
  • teaching and supervising Bachelor and Master students in areas of behavioural, experimental and environmental economics (to be discussed)
  • contributing to project related tasks such as developing further grant proposals for extending scope of research and an annual workshop/conference (to be discussed)


  • an MSc degree in economics (including environmental economics), public policy or any related social science is a pre-requisite.
  • prior training in quantitative statistical methods (such as regression analysis, methods of causal inference) is a pre-requisite.
  • proficiency in English is a pre-requisite.
  • an interdisciplinary background is preferred.
  • a demonstrable research interest in one or more of the following themes/methods: behavioural economics, experimental economics, environmental economics, public policy, food studies.
  • experience in teaching and MSc/BSc supervision and demonstrable communication skills are desirable

Salary Benefits:

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,541 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,539 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 3 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package
Work Hours:

30.4 - 38 hours per week


De Boelelaan 1105