I am a senior researcher in economics at the University of Zurich, funded by a 4-year "Ambizione Grant" of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). I am also an affiliate member of CESifo, an associate member of the European Development Network (EUDN) , the Research Group on Development Economics in the German Economic Association and the Research Training Group "Globalization and Development" (GlaD). My main research interests are in public economics, political economy and economic development, and my SNF project investigates the relationship between resources, group identities and political stability.
I analyze issues from a polito-economic perspective, by creating formal models or deriving hypotheses from the literature and putting those to rigorous empirical tests. Thereby, I emphasize the identification of causal effects through a variety of strategies ranging from intensive fixed effects models, natural experiments, difference-in-differences to regression discontinuity designs. Depending on what is best suited to answer the research question, I use both contemporaneous and historical data, and consider developing and developed countries.
My main motivation to do research is the interest to better understand how political and market institutions work. By creating knowledge, I hope to contribute to making the world a free, wealthier and happier place. As an researcher my aim is to find out which institutions and structure are most likely to make societies function well, and which might not despite being intended to do so. In my view, the role of an economist in society is (based on Frederic Bastiat) to consider "the seen and the unseen" consequences of policies, and not fall prey to common sense and make-believe. Don't trust simplistic explanations and remember that the world is full of trade-offs, and unfortunately no free lunches.
In a current project we collect information on governments in Africa. You can find the project site "here" .
In another project we analyze the integration of immigrants to the USA. You can find the project site "here" .
- Public Economics/ Political Economy/ Public Choice:
- Fiscal federalism, the size of nations and separatism
- Cultural/ Identity economics
- The political economy of International Organizations (EU, IMF, World Bank,…)
- Financial markets, in particular credit rating agencies
- Development Economics:
- Development finance: Aid effectiveness, aid allocation, political economy of aid
- Comparative/ long term economic development
- Since 2/2018:
Ambizione senior lecturer funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation at the University of Zurich
Research stay at the Economics Department and the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the University of Cambridge, UK
- Since 9/2015:
Oberassistent (PostDoc) at the Chair of Political Economy (Katharina Michaelowa) at the University of Zurich
Ph.D. Dissertation in Economics at the University of Göttingen and Heidelberg University.
Supervisor Axel Dreher and Stephan Klasen.
Final grade: Summa cum laude
Guest researcher at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Participation in Ph.D courses in the fall semester 2014 at MIT and Harvard.
Overall 2-year Ph.D. course program at the University of Mannheim as well as at the Universities of Göttingen and Hannover (joint program)
Diplom (M.Sc equivalent) in Business Administration w. electives in Economics at the University of Mannheim
Studies in Business and Economics at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand
Abitur H.v.Z. Gymnasium Murrhardt