I am currently a professor for political economy and sustainable development at the economics department University of Bern. I am a member of the interdisciplinary Wyss Academy for Nature in Bern and an research professor associated with the ifo institute in Munich. Before that I worked at the University of Zurich, funded by a 4-year "Ambizione Grant" from the Swiss National Science Foundation. My PhD is from the University of Goettingen (advisor Axel Dreher ), and my undergraduate degree from the University of Mannheim. I have teaching experience at the University of Mannheim, Heidelberg University, the University of Applied Sciences in Kaiserslautern, and the University of Zurich, and conducted research stays at Harvard, Cambridge, CESifo, Deakin University and Stanford. I am a member of CESifo, the European Development Network (EUDN), the Development Economics Committee of the German Economic Association, and the "Globalization and Development" Group (GlaD).
My main research interests are in political economy, development and public economics. I develop theories based on economics and related disciplines, and test them rigorously using modern econometric methods, often with the help of novel administrative, geographical or historical data. My aim is to answer scientifically and socially relevant research questions in developed and developing countries, emphasizing the importance of culture, norms and history. I am driven by my deep interest to better which formal and informal institutions explain how well countries -- comprised of heterogenous groups with diverging interests -- function and develop.
My prior work can be distinguished in three key strands. First, understanding the impact of development cooperation and aid for developing countries. Second, analyzing political economy aspects of international organizations like the IMF, the World Bank, the EU, and of international credit rating agencies. Third, analyzing the origins and consequences of group identities and horizontal inequalities - e.g., in resource distribution - for conflict and preferences about the vertical distribution of power.
Currently, I work on three main topics
- Narratives, specifically about nature, climate change, and migration: using natural language processing and data from newspapers and social media to understand orgins and effects of narratives
- Resources and pollution: using satellite imagery and machine learning to track mining activity and analyze structural change and pollution
- Propaganda and conflict
- Political Economy / Public Choice / Public Economics:
- Cultural economics: group identities, norms, narratives
- Financial markets: credit rating agencies, access to financial markets, sustainable finance
- Fiscal federalism: fiscal transfers, separatism, preferences about the vertical distribution of power
- Political economy of international organizations (EU, IMF, World Bank)
- Sustainable Development:
- Development finance: aid effectiveness, aid allocation, political economy of aid
- Resources and environment
- Comparative/ long term economic development
- Conflict and state stability
- Since 9/2021:
Professor for political economy and sustainable development at the University of Bern department of economics and the Wyss Academy
- Since 2/2018:
Ambizione senior researcher, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, at the University of Zurich
- 9/2019 - 12/2019:
Research stay at Stanford University, California
Research stay at the Economics Department and the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the University of Cambridge, UK
- 9/2015 - 2/2017:
Oberassistent (PostDoc) at the Chair of Political Economy (Katharina Michaelowa) at the University of Zurich
- 2011 - 7/2015:
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.
- 2011 - 2013:
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