Master/Bachelor Theses Topics

Theses can be written in German or English.

If interested, please contact Prof. Stefan Hirsch (stefan.hirsch[at]

Drivers of firm performance in the food sector

  • Using an extensive firm-level database (AMADEUS) a large array of questions related to the drivers of firm performance in the food and agribusiness sector can be addressed. Examples are the impact of board diversity on firm profits. I.e. does it have an impact if firm leadership is more diverse with respect to nationality, gender or age? What is the impact of naming a firm by its owner on profitability?   


Market power in the food value chain

Possible research questions:

  • At which stages does market power occur (farm, industry, retail)
    towards the up- and downstream sectors
  • Which subsectors are affected (e.g. meat, dairy,…)
  • Differences across EU countries
  • Which methods are used to measure market power
  • For master thesis: conduct own empirical analysis of market power 


The impact of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on firm performance

Possible research questions:

The empirical literature offers a wide array of results related to the impact of CSR activities on firm performance. Aim is to systematically summarize this literature used meta-regressions. This will allow to determine the influence of firm types, countries, time period, estimation strategy on the resulting CSR-profit relationship


Efficiency of firms in the agricultural and food sector

Possible research questions:

  • How is efficiency measured empirically and theoretically?
  • Differences across subsectors (meat, dairy, beverage,…)
  • Differences across countries, time, etc.
  • What are drivers of efficiency?
  • For master thesis: conduct own empirical analysis of efficiency


Flexibility of firms in the food industry

Conducting an empirical analysis of firm flexibility (i.e. the ability of firms to adapt the production strategy to external influences) by applying an already existing econometric model to a food industry subsector (e.g.  beverage, meat)


The Influence of the 2008/2009 Financial Crisis on the Performance of Food and Agribusiness Firms

Research questions:

  • Determination of the influence of the 08/09 financial crisis on different measures of performance (profits, efficiency, innovation, etc.) in the food and agribusiness sector.
  • Determining the crises impact on food demand in specific subcategories such as meat, dairy, beverages, etc.


The impact of R&D and innovation on the performance of food industry firms

Research questions:

  • Determining the special role of R&D and Innovations on firm performance in the food sector
  • What is the impact of R&D and new product innovation on the profitability/efficiency of firms in the food sector?
  • The role of uncertainty on investment in R&D and innovation


Retail Price Discrimination

Research questions:

  • Summarizing evidence of price discrimination in the food and retail sector
  • How can price discrimination be measured?
  • What are theoretical models on price discrimination?
  •  Implications for consumers


The Role of Big Data in Agricultural Economics Research

Research questions:

  • Where is Big Data used in Agricultural Economics Research (which topics, research questions, etc. are addressed?)
  • What are possible fields of application?
  • What data is available and how can it be used?
  • Differences to other sectors?


The Influence of food related incidences and scandals

Research questions:

Evaluating economic impacts of incidents such as the Foot-and-Mouth disease outbreak, the E-coli outbreak, dioxin scandal, etc.