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). My main research interests are in 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.
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 regulations 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 (with the words of Frederic Bastiat) to see "the seen and the unseen", 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 not free lunches.
Thus my research is motivated by the aim to understand and empirically investigate puzzling phenomena and urgent economic and political questions. While I am also interested in empirical methods and theory itself, my main motivation is their application to answer urgent economic and political questions in a convincing way. In doing so my motto is "as complicated as necessary, but as simple and understandable as possible".
- Political Economy / Public Choice / Public Economics:
- Fiscal federalism, Separatism, resource distribution
- Cultural economics: The economics of happiness, creation and evolution of norms and identity
- Identity economics: Formation and Consequences of national, regional and ethnic identies
- The political economy of International Organizations (EU, IMF, World Bank,…)
- Financial markets, in particular the role and behavior of credit rating agencies
- Economist history
- Development Economics:
- Aid effectiveness, aid allocation, political economy of aid
- Aid allocation and aid inequality, aid and conflict
- Comparative/ long term economic development
Research stay at the Economics Department and the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the University of Cambridge, UK
- Since 9/2015:
Oberassistent (Assistant Professor) 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.
Final Grade: 1,5 (excellent)
Studies in Business and Economics at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand
Abitur H.v.Z. Gymnasium Murrhardt.
Final Grade: 1,5 (excellent)