PhD position: Behavioral law and economics project on: Why do firms comply?

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: ;

We are looking for an enthusiastic researcher with a Master’s degree in criminology, economics, law or another relevant social science discipline. Primary requirements are affinity with empirical research into the question as to why firms do or do not comply with rules.

Are you that candidate? Then please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

Legal norms aim to promote socially desirable behaviour and to police undesirable actions. Analysing what shapes the effective observance of these norms and how to promote this in a legitimate manner is a fundamental social issue. As our society is largely organised based on private property and markets, what drives the compliance specifically of firms – such as not infringing antitrust – is key. This also effects society’s ability to attain its objectives – such as promoting sustainability and climate change – and thereby its potential to meet challenges and renew itself.

The proposed PhD project will address the following three overarching questions:

1. Why do firms comply with rules (or not)?

2. What is the role of the behaviour of individual corporate officers, company boards, and groups of firms in markets in this context?

3. How can such compliance be encouraged in a manner that is both effective and legitimate?

These questions will be addressed from a behavioural law and economics perspective. The aim is to advance this field by looking at different levels of analysis, and to shed light on promoting firms’ compliance in practice. This involves studying the issue at three levels – the individual corporate officer, the company board, and market interaction with other firms – and devising workable and meaningful empirical tests to do so. The proposed methodology is that of experimental empirical research based successively on an international vignettes study and a series of interactive games. The intended factual context is that of antitrust compliance and sustainability agreements.

Your duties

  • carrying out scientific research under supervision for a period of four years, culminating in a PhD degree in law and/or economics (according to your preference)
  • independent data collection, under supervision
  • analysing quantitative and (to a lesser extent) qualitative data
  • writing scientific publications towards a PhD thesis
  • presenting research findings for a scientific as well as a general audience
  • teaching (to a maximum of 10% of your hours)

  • a completed relevant Master’s degree in the social sciences
  • a verifiable interest in research, and affinity with the topic and methods of the PhD project
  • good academic English language skills (speaking and writing) are needed,(passive) knowledge of Dutch is a plus
  • verifiable skills in quantitative data-analysis and statistical software (such as SPSS; R)
  • experience with research and prior own publications are a plus

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,434 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,111 (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 4 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
  • discount on (and occasionally exclusive access to) theater performances and courses at the Griffioen Cultural Center
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Law
The Faculty of Law provides bachelor’s degree programmes in three main fields: Law, Notarial law and Criminology. In addition, we offer an extensive range of Master’s programmes as well as contract education. Our teaching and research focus on the social function and relevance of law: from contracts in the platform economy to the new way of working, from colonial injustice to medical liability, from family reunification to civil participation, from sex offenses to ransomware. Our research is often both international and multidisciplinary in character.

Working at the Faculty of Law means being engaged in an active and inspiring academic setting. Together with your colleagues, you will contribute to the quality of teaching and research in a challenging and rewarding working environment. More than 300 people work at the Faculty of Law, which is home to some 3,000 students.

About the project
The research context
This PhD research project is funded by the interfaculty research centre Amsterdam Law and Behavior Institute (A-Lab) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. It will be conducted in collaboration between the VU Faculty of Law (RCH), the VU School of Business and Economics (SBE) and the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR).Conceptually and in an organisational sense, the research builds on collaboration by Arjen van Witteloostuijn (SBE) and Wolf Sauter (RCH) into fairness bias, and on studies on explaining patterns of corporate compliance by Arjan Blokland (NSCR) and Wim Huisman (RCH). This PhD project will be supervised by these four professors.

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until

November 12th, 2021

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: prof.dr. W. Huisman
Position: Chair of Criminology
Telephone: 020-5983560

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