Economics and Society

The Department of Economics and Society employs people with a broad range of expertise in agricultural economics, social economics, institutional economics, environmental and resource economics, political science, sociology and food science. The employees in this department analyse farm management issues and political and social issues and challenges relevant to bio-based industries, with a particular focus on agriculture and forestry plus other land- and plant-based production and ecosystem services.

Other key research fields for the department include impact assessments of both national and international changes to economic and political conditions, as well as research on consumer theory and consumer behaviour within the bioeconomy. It also includes innovations for sustainable development of the bioeconomy and its contribution to rural and regional development. Human behaviour and decision- making, technology, markets and institutions are key elements of this research. 

The department also promotes innovation via various activities at a regional level in collaboration with businesses and regional authorities.

The department's areas of expertise include:                                

The production, sale and consumption of food

  • Production economics, including efficiency and productivity analyses
  • Farm management analyses of different operating methods, systems and technologies
  • Quantitative and qualitative analyses of objectives and strategies in the agricultural and food sectors, including surveys and in-depth interviews
  • Decision-making behaviour, financial incentives and the implementation of policy measures in the food value chain
  • System analyses, statistical methods and simulation models to illustrate price transmission, negotiating power and strategic decision-making behaviour in the food value chain
  • Sociological and political science-based studies on the impact of economic measures, information, demography and attitudes to food consumption
  • Econometric and sociological analyses of food consumption, food traditions and food culture, safe food, diet and health
  • Public and private management models and regulatory systems
  • Application of investment and financial theory
  • Innovation studies and entrepreneurship 


  • Production economics, including efficiency and productivity analyses
  • Farm management analyses of different operating methods, systems and technologies
  • Analyses relating to the value chain for timber and other forest products
  • Innovation studies and entrepreneurship

The importance of agriculture in rural and regional policy

  • Analyses on the importance of bio-based industries in rural and regional policy
  • Expertise in rural development, involving sociological and political analyses of institutional/regulatory frameworks, social networks, social capital and the relationship between people and ecosystems

Agricultural production of goods other than food and timber, services, public goods and ecosystem services 

  • Energy production (bioenergy, hydropower)
  • Statistical and qualitative methods for analysing agricultural production of public goods, including ecosystem services
  • Provision of services such as farm tourism, recreation and outdoor activities
  • Innovation studies and entrepreneurship within the bioeconomy

Climate and environment

  • Economic and sociological analyses of agriculture and potential climate-related and environmental impacts 
  • Economic and sociological analyses of climate change and potential impacts on food security and nutrition security
  • Economic and sociological analyses of how the agricultural sector can adapt to a changing climate

Animal welfare and animal health, as well as HSE

  • Social studies relating to animal welfare and animal health
  • Social studies relating to health, safety and environmental issues (HSE) in bio-based industries

The Department of Economics and Society collaborates with other departments in the Division of Food Production and Society and with departments in other divisions in NIBIO. One of the department's key strategic challenges is to continue developing its areas of expertise to become a sought-after partner for national and foreign research institutions. 

The department employs 24 people, most of whom work at NIBIO's offices in Oslo and in Ås, but some employees are based at NIBIO's offices in Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø. The teams in Oslo and Ås work closely with central agricultural authorities and administrative bodies, and with many partners in the agricultural and food sectors.