The central object of our analyses is the individual behaviour of the actors within socio-hydrosystems. Even though this behaviour takes place in groups, as it often does, we are interested in studying individual choices, the way they evolve, and the factors that influence them. This includes individual behaviours that take into account the strategies of other actors within a group (cooperative and non-cooperative equilibria, for example) and the effect of collective rules established by (endogenous) or imposed on (exogenous) groups. We also study if and under what conditions these individual choices influence the decisions made by the groups and by the institutions that manage the systems within which the actors studied operate and evolve.
The team's work resides on three methodological references used to analyze practices, social representations and behaviours within socio-hydrosystems: quantitative-qualitative surveys, economic evaluation based on stated preferences, and economic experiments. To these references are added hybrid methods, including other disciplines such as social psychology. Hybrid methods constitute an objective per se for the team: to design new methods adapted to the specific situations of research in partnership within socio-hydrosystems.
PRECOS is above all a methodological team. Consequently, the main questions concern the methods and research processes that can be mobilized in order to study the practices and individual behaviours of socio-hydrosystem’ actors. In particular, we address the following questions:
- How to adapt the proposed methods to the study of socio-hydrosystems?
- How to open-up the methods used by the team to interdisciplinary approaches?
- How to implement field experiments in situations where it is difficult to control behavioral variables, in particular in the South?
- How to combine experimental approaches with other methods of economic analysis or social sciences for research in support of decision-making for water management?
- What kind of experiments for water economics education?
Within the projects, "thematic" research questions emerge. They concern the analysis of the behaviour of actors within socio-hydrosystems. Here are a few examples: what is the influence of information (institutional, social) on farmers' willingness to pay for irrigation water? What are the factors that influence the choice of an innovation (complementary irrigation basins for irrigation) in Burkina Faso or the choice of adaptations to the lack of water in Tunisia and Morocco?
The team fieldworks are those of its members' projects. They range from Metropolitan France to the South of the Mediterranean, to the overseas regions where the UMR G-Eau researchers work. PRECOS partnerships are primarily scientific in nature, but taking into account the applied nature of its research and the orientation towards decision support, collaborations with institutions, political and private decision-makers, producer organizations and irrigators are in place.