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Writing your final thesis at the research group Development and Cooperative Economics


If you are interested in writing your final thesis at our working group or already have an idea for a topic related to development economics or cooperative economics in mind, please contact Professor Kirk directly by email.

Apart from that, we have a list of suggested topics available. In particular there are survey and experimental data that were collected by us in 2017 in the Kavango region, Namibia, which can be used for empirical analyses. As experimental data there are a forestry-framed common-pool resource game and an unframed public good game. Surveys and interviews were conducted with local farming households, village chiefs and other experts on official and traditional levels. The mentioned topics, or similar ones, can however also be worked on with data from other sources or literature-based theses are also possible. Each subitem can make a topic for a whole thesis.

1.     Agriculture, land conversion and deforestation  

  • Scarcity of land: Does scarcity lead to faster seizing of land? Is land used more intensively in scarce areas?
  • The role of land tenure security on land use decisions
  • Socioeconomics in rural farming households
  • Benefits from land conversion (increased crop yields) vs. impacts of deforestation on the local, regional and global level (loss of forest resources, erosion, desertification, effect on climate and biodiversity)

2.     Local farmers' perspectives on climate change

  • How is climate change being perceived by rural farming households?
  • What are the consequences?
  • Can measures be taken to adapt to changes in climate?

3.     Group composition on cooperation outcomes

  • Are individuals more inclined to cooperate with people they know well?
  • How does (non-)anonymity affect the willingness to cooperate?
  • How can communication increase cooperation in groups?

4.     On the external validity of (field) experiments

  • Demand-effects
  • Correlations and deviations between hypothetical, experimental and real-life decisions
  • Socioeconomics factors that influence experimental outcomes

For one of the above suggested topics please contact Christian Hönow by 

5.     Meta-study on cooperation in field-experiments (Master thesis only)

The principal aim of this meta-study is to investigate the correlation of design features as well as socio-economic variables with experimentally measured cooperation. The focus is on public good and common-pool resource experiments carried out with non-student populations. Since most published papers focus on establishing a causal effect of some specific treatment, we expect to gain some additional insights from correlating cooperation with e.g. income, wealth, education or location.

We have collected meta-information on a selected set of field experimental studies that include parameters like group-size, framing
and other game design variables. Also, we have already received a batch of data sets from various experimental studies. In the next step, these will be merged and analyzed. We are therefore looking for a Master student who wants to write his or her final thesis about the topic and ideally has some experience in data processing, cleaning, re-shaping and, of course, analyzing. The particular focus of the master thesis may be adjusted or specified after consultation.

The master thesis will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Vollan and Christian Hönow.

If you are interested or have questions please contact us by .

Master’s Thesis: Procedure and Topic Selection

Guidelines for Writing an Academic Paper at the Chair of Development and Cooperative Economics