Economic and Ideological Causes of Political Radicalization and Violence: Evidence From the 1789 French Revolution

This project investigates the deep economic and ideological causes of political radicalization and revolutionary violence by providing a historical perspective on the 1789 French Revolution. The project studies the incentives of the three main agents at work during the revolution: the ‟Stateˮ, the ‟peopleˮ and the revolutionary leaders. Part one examines whether the development of a French national state with a centralized administration was one of the deep causes of the Revolution. Part two studies whether increased economic competition at the beginning of the Revolution contributed to the radicalization of individuals living in Paris. Part three examines the voting behavior of radicalized politicians and how it relates to their personal interests. The novel contribution of this project is to combine political economy and history to determine which economic, ideological, and political transformations contributed to the radicalization of the population. We will make use of novel archival data covering all of France or using new microdata for Paris jointly with state-of-the-art causal inference techniques. By focusing on events just before the start of the 1789 Revolution or immediately after its outbreak, the proposal aims at determining not only the root causes of revolutionary violence but also its mechanisms.

ENOUGH – a new EU project that will identify how food industry can become net zero by 2050

Funder: European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101036588
Project partner: Sintef Ocean, London South Bank University, University of Birmingham, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, INRAE, IIF-IIR, TU Graz, EFFoS, Vytautas Magnus University, Silesian University of Technology, Universita Politecnica Delle Marche,
Project period: 3,5 years (2022 - 2025)
Project website: Summary of the Project - Enough
Abstract: Food systems are globally responsible for 20 to almost 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Over the whole food chain approximately 60% of food should be refrigerated at some point and it is estimated that approximately 70% of emissions from food are related to perishable foods. The main source of emissions is related to energy use within the food chain, but leakage of high GWP refrigerant is another relevant source. Thus, the main scope of the project is to support the EU farm to fork sustainable strategy by providing technical, financial, and political tools and solutions to reduce GHG emissions (by 2030) and achieve carbon neutrality (by 2050) in the food industry.

Coming to America: Immigration, Political Campaigning, and Polarization

Funder: German Research Foundation (DFG)
Project period:
Project website:

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding our research project "Coming to America: Immigration, Political Campaigning, and Polarization." The project is a cooperation with the Chair of International Economic and Development Policy at the Ruprechts-Karls-University of Heidelberg and the University of Western Australia. The project is funded for 24 months.

The world and the US in particular, have experienced rising political polarization and increasing migration flows in recent decades, in addition to growing cleavages around the topic of immigration. We aim to examine the impact of immigration on political ideologies and polarization along several dimensions. In Part a), we analyze the impact of immigrants and refugees on political ideologies and polarization at the local level by considering political ideologies of political candidates, the ideological composition of campaign contributions, Pew micro survey data on political beliefs, as well as polarization in TV viewership. In the Part b), we examine the political impact of immigration on 16 million campaign donors. Thereby, we advance the literature by understanding the context and conditions that determine differing political responses of individuals to immigration and refugee inflows. In Part c), we analyze the use of immigration-related political advertising and their influence on polarization. As immigration has become an important wedge issue in elections, politicians have tried to influence political outcomes by instrumentalizing immigrants in political campaigns. Understanding the conditions under which these campaigns are successful, as well as the type of donor reacting to these campaigns, will further our understanding of the role of political campaigns in the political impact of immigration. Throughout all parts, the proposed project draws on unique and previously unexploited individual-level microdata on the universe of refugees that entered the United States between 1975 and 2015, which we extend with county-level refugee data up to 2018. Moreover, we develop a new identification strategy based on an arbitrary distance threshold within which refugees without family ties in the US have to be settled. Altogether, we will examine novel questions, introduce new data, and develop new identification strategies.

China in Africa: Exploring the Consequences for Economic and Social Development

Funder: Leibniz Association
Project partner: Kiel Institute for the World Economy
Project period: April 2021-March 2025
Project website: Website
Abstract: Since the turn of the millennium, as part of its “going out” policy, China has heavily expanded its engagement in Africa. China’s rapidly growing economic activities are visible across the African continent in its bilateral trade, investment overseas, development aid activities, and migratory pattern. While economic theory suggests net benefits of increased competition and global integration, Chinese activities are frequently criticized for their potential adverse consequences on African countries and their citizens. In this research project (a joined activity with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy) our team focusses on the effects and determinants of Chinese aid and trade. In particular, we will evaluate how China’s engagement affects African citizens’ socio-economic well-being and political attitudes.

Empirical Analyses of Emerging Donors in Development Cooperation

Funder: German Research Foundation (DFG)
Project partner: Prof. Axel Dreher, Heidelberg University
Project period: 01.01.2020 – 31.12.2022
Project website
Abstract: This project intends to contribute to the empirical aid literature by investigating the allocation and effectiveness of development finance provided by emerging actors in the field of development cooperation. The project aims to extend the literature in three important dimensions. First, building on our previous research, we plan to continue to construct new and better data to address data scarcity on emerging aid flows at a detailed level. Second, we intend to focus on the subnational analysis of emerging aid using geocoded data, remote-sensing data, and spatial econometrics methods. This will substantially increase statistical power compared to conventional analyses at the national level. Third, we want to contribute to the growing literature that moves beyond the analysis of GDP to measure economic development, by using more nuanced determinants of human well-being and behaviour. In particular, we seek to address the multidimensional nature of a nation’s prosperity, by analysing the effects of aid on health, migration, and public perception of donor governments.