Research focus and current research projects

Political Economy of Global Development Lab

Our Political Economy of Global Development Lab is the main hub of our joint research activities, from which we organize meetings, workshops, and host guests in Stuttgart.

We study issues relevant to economic policy using modern quantitative methods and theory. We work on a range of crosscutting topics, such as inequality, fairness views, decision-making of individuals or policymakers, and (nearly) all aspects of economic development.

We approach these topics from complementary perspectives. On the one hand, we use insights from behavioral economics to better understand individual decision-making and how people perceive inequality and fairness in society. This provides a deeper perspective on how the state and (political) institutions interact with their citizens. On the other hand, we seek to understand the political economy development from a regional and macro perspective, asking questions such as: Why is economic activity more concentrated in some places than others? Or: What political factors shape regional development?

What unites us is that our research concerns the causes and consequences of poverty and how to tackle the global imbalances in incomes, both  from the perspective of people in rich countries and people in less developed countries.

We use state-of-the-art quantitative methods, ranging from quasi-experimental and experimental methods, including field, lab, and survey experiments, to machine learning. We also specialize in uncovering new insights from unconventional data sources, especially geospatial data derived from contemporary satellites and historical sources.

Our current research areas are:

  • Poverty and global inequality
  • Behavioral economics
  • Political economy and state capacity
  • Long-run growth and development
  • Urban and regional economics
  • Data science and empirical methods

Our research interests define our teaching activities. In various programs, we provide business students, teachers-in-training, and engineers with the essential tools of microeconomics, macroeconomics, behavioral economics, and urban economics.

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