IGS Universiteit Twente


Societal and policy relevance

Inability to deal with risks reduces a society’s capacity to innovate and develop. Structural failure to deal with uncertainty and adequately manage risks may have enormous impacts that may persist over generations. Trends such as economic crises, food price fluctuations, pressures on natural resources, demographic changes and climate change have resulted in greater exposure to risk and often lead to exhaustion of existing strategies.

Adaptation and mitigation strategies of poor households in developing countries often depend directly on the immediate social network as they lack access to formal insurance.  Behavioral changes regarding adaptation to natural hazards or mitigation of climate change in developed countries are highly affected by information provision and social learning related to coupled human-environment systems. Thus, social interactions between individual economic agents influence economic choices and may lead to structural systemic changes. In a future where resources to respond to the consequences of crises are limited it is essential to build resilience of households and their communities so that they can withstand, adapt to and recover from shocks. The changes in the global environment and pressures on scarce resources also require a rethinking of the provision of public goods and services.

In the coming years LSEB will explore the above mentioned frontiers in scientific knowledge by concentrating on research topics related to economic behavior: risk management and insurance (microinsurance), food security, natural resource management, the provision of environmental public goods, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and land use change.