The healthcare sector is among the most carbon-intensive sectors, contributing to 4.4% of global net greenhouse gas emissions and toxic air pollutants (Karliner et al., 2020). These levels are similar to those of the food sector (Pichler et al., 2019). Within Europe, 6% of all UK (Karliner et al., 2020) and 7% of all Dutch CO2 emissions are caused by the healthcare sector (Gupta Strategists, 2019). Policies and information campaigns potentially encourage more sustainable behavior. However, without compliance, policies do not have the desired effect. This PhD project will use insights from behavioral economics to facilitate this behavioral change, including evidence from field experiments in hospital care.
This PhD research project has two main objectives. First, it seeks to evaluate the barriers and facilitators for behavioural changes that promote the transition from a linear towards a circular healthcare sector using mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative research). Second, it will test the most prominent interventions in different department using field experiments. Short- and long-term effects will be measured quantitatively and used to evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions. Job description
Policies and information campaigns potentially encourage more sustainable behavior. However, without compliance, policies do not have the desired effect. Specifically in a healthcare context, the focus on infection prevention and patient safety may also hinder the adoption of more sustainable practices (Bolten et al., 2022).
The PhD project will answer the following research questions:
- What are the barriers and facilitators of the behavioral change towards sustainable behavior?
We will combine qualitative and quantitative research methods for the analysis of factors driving behaviour, including individual interviews, focus groups, and vignette studies. Vignettes is a quantitative empirical method in which respondents are presented with hypothetical scenarios in which potential factors of influence can be systematically manipulated to determine their influence on decision-making.
- What are the short and long-term effects of the most promising interventions?
Based on the output from the first research question, and in consultation with hospital personnel, the most promising interventions for each department will be tested using field experiments. Short- and long-term effects will be measured quantitatively and used to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions. To determine the external validity of interventions, one intervention will be tested across two clinical departments and one intervention will be tested across two hospitals. Expected output
The PhD thesis should consist of four papers publishable in peer reviewed journals, with at least one accepted for publication, prior to submission. The PhD student will also present research at (international) health economics conferences and workshops.