I’m a PhD student in the department of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan.
I am interested in issues related to risk and vulnerability in the developing world, particularly in the face of an uncertain future. In my dissertation I plan to use agent-based simulation to explore issues of food security, livelihood, and well-being of smallholder farmers in Ethiopia under different future scenarios.
Becky is a Research Associate at the Imperial Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (ICEPT). She investigates economic, social and technical aspects of energy policy in the UK and abroad.
Becky’s current research is focussed on transitions in the UK bioenergy system and on biofuels for aviation. She is involved with two major projects: Bioenergy Value Chains: Whole Systems Analysis and Optimisation, an EPSRC SUPERGEN Bioenergy Challenge Project; and Renewable Jet Fuel Supply Chain Development and Flight Operations (RENJET), a project for EIT Climate-KIC. Becky has also worked on projects for the UK Energy Research Centre – International Renewable Energy Agency (UKERC-IRENA) collaboration, investigating issues such as economic value creation, policy evaluation metrics, innovation theory and rural electrification. She is particularly interested in the role of renewable technologies for developing countries, having lived and worked in Mali and Senegal.
Modeling land use change from smallholder agricultural intensification
Agricultural expansion in the rural tropics brings much needed economic and social development in developing countries. On the other hand, agricultural development can result in the clearing of biologically-diverse and carbon-rich forests. To achieve both development and conservation objectives, many government policies and initiatives support agricultural intensification, especially in smallholdings, as a way to increase crop production without expanding farmlands. However, little is understood regarding how different smallholders might respond to such investments for yield intensification. It is also unclear what factors might influence a smallholder’s land-use decision making process. In this proposed research, I will use a bottom-up approach to evaluate whether investments in yield intensification for smallholder farmers would really translate to sustainable land use in Indonesia. I will do so by combining socioeconomic and GIS data in an agent-based model (Land-Use Dynamic Simulator multi-agent simulation model). The outputs of my research will provide decision makers with new and contextualized information to assist them in designing agricultural policies to suit varying socioeconomic, geographic and environmental contexts.
performance of urban water service provision, high levels of inequities and inefficiency persist. In terms of water distribution and cost, these undesirable patterns have a high impact on peri-urban areas usually populated by marginalized and poor populations. The high levels of Non-Revenue Water (NRW), together with the existence of corrupt practices and mismanagement of water utilities, remain a highly controversial issue.
This situation confronts rent-seeking theory directly, explaining the performance-corruption relationship (Repetto, 1986). The presumption is that low performance in water supply service provision results from corruption because rent-seeking occurs. Hence, the implementation of performance-oriented reforms in the water supply sector, such as regulation or private sector participation, will reduce corruption, increasing the efficiency of water service provision. Nevertheless, latest evidence shows that “key elements of good political governance have a positive effect on the access to water services in developing countries. In turn, private sector participation has little influence other than increasing internal efficiency of water providers” (Krausse, 2009).
Indeed the relation between governance, corruption and performance seems to be more complex than theory wants to acknowledge. It must be reviewed further than a simple cause-effect relationship. It appears that poor management of water utilities, evidenced by high levels of NRW, justifies new investments. Such practices can be encouraged by an “opportunistic management”, whilst at the same time maintaining an influential “hydrocratic elite” in the sphere of water control.
The present research proposal aims to understand the relation between mismanagement and corruption of water control practices in water supply service provision. The research examines how this relationship affects the performance of water service provision and relates to water supply governance models at municipal peri-urban level in three African countries.
To understand the mismanagement-corruption relationship, we look at different case studies of water supply service provision in Senegal, Ghana and Kenya. Each case represents a different governance model in terms of management practices, institutional and organizational settings, and the actors in place, which affects the performance of water service provision in terms of allocative efficiency and access to water (equity). Whether regulation, decentralization and private sector participation constitute possible ways to reduce corruption is examined in the context of water sector reform.
In a second step, we propose a theoretical model based on Agent Based Modelling (ABM) (Pahl-Wostl, 2007) to reproduce complex social networks under a Socio-Ecological System (SES) framework approach. The model will allow us to test whether collaborative governance in the form of collective action in a participatory and negotiated decision-making process for water control, can reduce corruption and increase performance.
The present research benefits from the project “Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa”. This project, carried out by Transparency International (TI) in 8 Sub-Saharan countries, aims to increase access to education, health and water by improving transparency and integrity in basic service delivery. The proposal retains focus on Senegal, Ghana and Kenya in the water sector.
Key words: water control, mismanagement, corruption, performance, collaborative governance, modelling, collective action, negotiation, participation
Developing Disease Modeling Software - MIcro Simulation Tool (MIST). The Reference Model for Disease Progression is my main effort.
Graduate studies in mathematical behavioral sciences, with focus on developing cognitively plausible agent models for simulation of economic problems.
Direction of the Vector-Borne Disease Network (www.vecnet.org), an international research consortium developing modeling tools that support the development of new strategies to eliminate malaria.
Social Innovation and Monetary Innovation. Developing Social Finance tools for social enterprises.
My primary research interest is in developing spatial computer models of social phenomena and my focus, in particular, has been on crime simulation.
Our overriding approach has been to advance the state-of-the-art in conducting large-scale simulation studies, by developing and disseminating experimental designs that facilitate the exploration of complex simulation models