I am fascinated by the questions of why some countries are rich and others poor. What can we do to improve the well-being of people in developing countries and how can we sustain growth in developed economies? How can we share prosperity across different layers of society? These are the questions that motivated me to study Economic Growth and Innovation.
The central determinant of modern societies’ economic growth is technological progress fueled by basic research conducted at institutions such as Universities and Research Institutes. One part of my research analyzes how basic research interacts with private R&D-investments and how basic research should be optimally financed. I also address the questions of how much a country should invest in basic research depending on its openness to foreign direct investment and its distance to the world’s technological frontier.
Another part of my research addresses recent policy discussions at the intersections of Macroeconomics with Health Economics, with International Economics and with Environmental Economics. This includes the consequences of increased health expenditures and demographic change on economic growth and welfare, the incentives of developing countries to enforce intellectual property rights, and the interaction of intra-family decision making with human capital accumulation and public education policy. Furthermore, I examine the inter-generational distribution of costs and benefits of public good provision with long-run impact, such as public infrastructure or the mitigation of climate change.
While desirable to be implemented, economic policies leading to high levels of welfare may not be able to gather sufficient political support. It is therefore paramount to understand how political institutions work, how they shape economic policy and how we can design better political institutions.
These questions inspire my research in Political Economy. In particular, I analyze how legislative lobbying and the strengths of interest groups affect public policy and how the level of public good provision, tax rates and welfare in parliamentary democracies would be affected if political parties could credibly commit to some of their campaign promises, in particular on the level of tax rates, but not on others, such as spending on "pork barrel projects". In recent and very topical work, I am interested in the incentives of individuals who differ in honesty (regarding election campaign promises) to self-select into politics and how these self-selection incentives depend on the transparency of the political institutions.
In summary, my research interests are in
Dynamic Macroeconomics / Economic Growth