Dr Allan Butler

Senior Lecturer in Economics
Allan Butler


Senior Lecturer in Economics

Contact details


Tel: 01285 652531


University responsibilities

  • Senior lecturer

Allan is an experienced economist and researcher. Intellectually, he is interested in understanding how complexity theory influences economic thought. Beyond economics, Allan worked as an academic researcher at the University of Exeter and Scottish Rural College for over 15 years. His research interests include complexity economics; research methodology and methods; economic interactions in socio-ecological systems; international trade networks; and environmental, agricultural, and rural policy. 

Membership and affiliations:

  • Honorary Research Associate of Centre for Rural Policy Research, University of Exeter.
  • Executive committee member of the Agricultural Economics Society
  • Member of the European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE)
  • Member of the International Society for Ecological Economics
  • Member of University Ethics Review Committee


Current projects

  • Creation of epistemic communities in innovating for agri-environmental policies in England (with Janet Dwyer, CCRI, the University of Gloucestershire; and Shobayashi Mikitaro, Gakushuin Women's College, Japan.
  • Molland Moor Project (with Janet Dwyer, CCRI, the University of Gloucestershire, funded by the Heather Trust).
  • Economic evaluation of pheasant shooting on Exmoor, funded byGESA.
  • Bathurst Estate Study, funded Bathurst Estate.

Current research

  • Application of real-world economics to agriculture
  • Understanding economic complexity and uncertainty in agricultural systems
  • Networks, knowledge and economic activity
  • Agent-based modelling of agricultural economic problems

Previous research

  • UK Agricultural Machinery Demand Projections (Agricultural Engineers Association)
  • Economic modelling of GHGs mitigation
  • Economics and public perception of anaerobic digestion
  • Economics of bovine tuberculosis (bTB)
  • Modelling the impacts on farmers of common agricultural policies
  • Organic farming markets
  • Social and economic impacts of agricultural restructuring
  • Social network analysis of farming and entrepreneurial businesses
  • Sustainable hill farming


Journal articles

Jadevicius, A., Huston, S., Baum, A., & Butler, A. (2018). Two centuries of farmland prices in England. Journal of Property Research, 35(1), 72-94.

Pearson, C., Butler, A., & Murray, Y. (2018). Understanding veterinary leadership in practice. Veterinary Record, 1-7.

Butler, A. and Lobley, M. (2016). Training as a social purpose: Are economic and social benefits delivered? International Journal of Training and Development, 20(4), 249-261.

Del Prado, A., Misselbrook, T., Chadwick, D., Hopkins, A., Dewhurst, R.J., Butler, A., Schroder, J., and Scholefield, D. (2011). SIMSDAIRY: A modelling framework to identify sustainable dairy farms in the UK. Framework description and test for organic systems and N fertiliser optimisation, Science of the Total Environment 409 (19) 3993-4009.

Lobley, M., Butler, A. and Winter, M. (2011). Local food for local people? Producing food for local and national organic markets in England and Wales, Regional Studies, 2011, 1-13. 

Lobley, M. and Butler, A. (2010). The impact of CAP reform on farmers' plans for the future: some evidence from South West England, Food Policy 35, (4), 341-348.

Lobley, M., Butler, A. and Reed, M. (2009). The contribution of organic farming to rural development: an exploration of the socio-economic linkages of organic and non-organic farms in England. Land Use Policy 26, 723-735.

Oliver, D. M., Heathwaite, A. L., Fish, R., Chadwick, D. R., Hodgson, C. J., Winter, M., and Butler A. (2009). Scale appropriate modelling of diffuse microbial pollution from agriculture. Progress in Physical Geography, 33, 358-377.

Butler, A., Le Grice, P. and Reed, M. (2007) Vocational Training: Trust, Talk and Knowledge Transfer in Small Businesses, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 14 (2), 280-293.

Butler, A., Reed, M., and Le Grice, P (2006). Delimiting knowledge transfer from training, Education + Training, vol. 48, no. 8/9, 2006, 627-641.


Conference Papers

Butler, A. (2017). Identifying emergent patterns in EU-intra trade of animals and meat products post-Brexit, Presentation for the RGS-IBG 2017 Conference, 29 August to 1st September, 2017, Royal Geographical Society, London.

Butler, A., 2016, April. How complex is agricultural economics?. In 90th Annual Conference, April 4-6, 2016, Warwick University, Coventry, UK (No. 236287). Agricultural Economics Society.

Butler, A. (2013). Planning and managing resources use on grassland farms, BGS 11th Conference, Science and Practice for Grass-Based Systems, 2-3rd September, 2013, SRUC, Dumfries.

Brassley, P., Winter, M., Harvey, D., Lobley, M. and Butler, A., 2012. European agriculture since World War II: technical change in south-west England, 1940-1985. European Social Science History Conference, 2012, Glasgow.

Butler, A., Hobbs, P. and Winter, M., 85th Annual Conference of the Agricultural Economics Society Warwick University 18-20 April 2011.

Butler, A., Oliver, D., Chadwick, D., Fish, R., Winter, M., Hodgson, C. and Heathwaite, L., 2009, April. Modelling the mitigation mix: faecal microbes, economic constraints and sustainable land management. In The 83rd Annual Conference of the Agricultural Economics Society, Dublin, 30th March to 1st April 2009.

Butler, A.J. and Turner, M., 2007. Modelling integrated dairy systems in the UK: towards economic and environmental sustainability. In Agricultural Economics Society, 81st Annual Conference, Reading, 2nd–4th April (Vol. 2007).

Contributions to edited books

Hobbs, P.J., Butler, A.J. (2014). On the sustainability of small farm scale agricultural anaerobic digesters. In Biomethane Production by Anaerobic Digestion: Using Agricultural Biomass and Organic Waste, Korres, N., West, J. (Eds.), Earthscan, London.

Reed, M., Butler, A. and Lobley, M. (2008) Growing Sustainable Communities - Understanding the social and economic footprints of organic family farms. In Creating food futures: trade, ethics, and the environment. Ashgate: Aldershot, Hampshire. 

Butler, A.J. (1996). Rural credit unions in mid Wales. In P. Midmore, G. Hughes (Eds.), Rural Wales: an Economic and Social Perspective, Welsh Institute of Rural Studies, Aberystwyth.



Butler, A. (2019). Grazing the Moor project: Insights from two years of farm data, Report Prepared for CCRI, Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.

Thomson, S., Moxey, A. and Butler, A. (2014). Scottish Agricultural Tenure Evidence Review, Scottish Government Social Research, Scottish Government.

Lobley, M., Butler, A., Kinross, D., Smith, L. (2014). Proving our value: The Impact of Social Purpose Organisations on Training and Skills in the Okehampton Area, CRPR Report 37, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Butler, A. and Lobley, M. (2012). Resource Management, Knowledge and Internet Use on Farms in South West England, CRPR Report 36, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Lobley, M., Winter, H, Nick Millard, N., Butler, A. and Winter, M. (2012). Making Land Available for Woodland Creation, CRPR Report 35, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Lobley, M., Winter, M., Butler, A. and Fish, R. (2012). Farming in the South West Uplands, CRPR Report 33, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Butler, A., Lobley, M. and Winter, M. (2010). Economic impact assessment of Bovine Tuberculosis in the South West of England, CRPR Report 30, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Lobley, M., Butler, A., Courtney, P., Ilbery, B., Kirwan, J., Damian Maye, D., Potter, C. and Winter, M. (2009). Analysis of socio-economic aspects of local and national organic farming markets, CRPR Report 29, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Lobley, M., Butler, A., Winter, M. (2009).  Farm Incomes in Devon 2007/08, CRPR Report 28, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Butler, A. and Winter, M. (2008). Agricultural tenure 2007, CRPR Report 24, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Butler, A. and Lobley, M. (2007). Farming in Devon: Changes since 2002 and developments in the near future, CRPR Report 22, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Lobley, M. and Butler, A. (2007). Advice to farmers and land managers in the Culm grassland area, CRPR Report 21, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Robbins, K., Butler, A., Turner, M. and Lobley, M. (2006).  Agricultural change and farm incomes in Devon: An update, CRPR Report 17, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Lobley, M., Butler, A. and Dwyer, J. (2006). The rationale and potential impact of HFA reform, CRPR Report 16, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Lobley, M., Clive Potter, C., Butler, A. with Whitehead, I. and Millard, N. (2005). The Wider Social Impacts of Changes in the Structure of Agricultural Businesses, CRPR Report 14, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Lobley, M., Reed, M. and Butler, A. (2005). The Impact of Organic Farming on the Rural Economy in England, CRPR Report 11, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Lobley, M., Wakefield, D., Butler, A. and Turner, M. (2004).  The State of Farming on Exmoor 2004: A Report to Exmoor National Park Authority , CRPR Report 8, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Lobley, M. and Butler, A. (2004). Impact of CAP Reform on Devon's Agriculture: Final Report to DCC, CRPR Report 6, University of Exeter, Exeter.

Lobley, M., Butler, A., Barr, D., Turner, M., Fogerty, M., Winter, M. (2003). The State of Agriculture in Devon: A report for Devon County Council, CRPR Report 5, University of Exeter, Exeter.