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Doctoral candidate Malte Müller successfully defended his thesis on the behaviour of members in agricultural producer groups

Congratulations to Malte Müller, who has successfully defended his PhD thesis in May 2021. In his research, Malte Müller analysed which factors lead members of agricultural producer groups to behave not in a self-interested manner but for the good of the community.
Agricultural producer organisations and cooperatives are considered to have a high potential for contributing to rural growth and poverty reduction. On the other hand, many of these organisations suffer from internal collective action problems where individual, short-term interests conflict with the organisation’s collective goal. Applying behavioural economic methods, Malte Müller shows in his dissertation that social norms, such as fairness and altruism, the role of legitimised leadership and mutual learning, play an essential role in preventing the self-interested behaviour of members. The research results show that the diversity of producer organisations should be taken more strongly into account in political strategies. It is also essential for support measures from politics and development cooperation that financial incentives for cooperatives do not contradict the purpose of the cooperative itself.

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