Research

Completed working papers:

Migrating extremists [Read]

Condt. Accepted by The Economic Journal, (with F. Rösel)

We show that migrating extremists can shape political equilibria in the long run. Regions in Austria that witnessed an influx of Nazis fleeing the Soviets after WWII still have significantly higher far-right vote shares today. Institutions and family ties perpetuate persistence. Migrated Nazi elites founded and penetrated local party branches that cultivate and preserve far-right ideologies, even when outside conditions temporarily change. Phonebook entries from 1942 allow tracing current far-right party membership back to past migration. Our results suggest that controlling migrating extremists is crucial to contain the spread of radical movements.

Awards:

Young Economist Award of the Austrian Economic Association

Hans Raupach Best Paper Award of the 8th IOS/APB/EACE Summer Academy

Media Attention:

Der Standard (also in Print), Wiener Zeitung, Die Presse, ORF Science, Österreich (oe24), Westdeutsche Zeitung (also in Print)

Scientific Acclaim:

Hans-Joachim Voth's Blog

CESifo Newsletter

Info:

Access the original CESifo Working Paper No. 5799 (March 2016): [Read]

Dismantled once, diverged forever? A quasi-natural experiment of Red Army's misdeeds in post-WWII Europe [Read]

Revise and Resubmit in The Journal of the European Economic Association

I study the economic consequences of the Red Army’s misdeeds after WWII. I exploit differences in spatial economic activity across the arbitrarily drawn and only for 74 days lasting liberation demarcation line between the Red Army and the Western Allies in South Austria. Dismantling and pillaging, but also (sexual) crimes made regions liberated by the Red Army a less desirable place to live and to start economic activities compared to adjacent regions. Spatial regression discontinuity (RD) estimates show that the liberation causes a relative population decline by around 26 to 31 percent until the present day. Measures of labor productivity also lag behind in Red Army liberated regions. I explain persistence with the selective migration pattern across the demarcation line in the direct aftermath of WWII.

Info:

Access the original ifo Working Paper No. 240 (August 2017): [Read]

Mobilizing history [Read]

(with F. Rösel)

We show that salient history stored in collective memories and mobilized by political campaigns creates new out-group sentiments and triggers political radicalization. Turkish troops besieged the Habsburg capital Vienna in 1529 and 1683 and pillaged individual villages in East Austria, raping, killing and kidnapping local residents in the process. Attacked places well remember those events but have never shown more aversion to Muslims until far-right populists started to campaign against Turks and Muslims in the mid-2000s. Our results show that anti-Muslim sentiments and vote shares for the far right increase in once attacked villages compared to unscathed ones, and Turkish communities decrease. Historical narratives in political campaigns can thus turn on and off beliefs and actions.

Awards:

Heinz König Young Economist Award 2019 by the ZEW

Scientific Acclaim:

The NEP-HIS Blog

CERGE-EI Blog

Info:

Access the original CESifo Working Paper No. 6586 with the old title "Activated history – The case of the Turkish sieges of Vienna (July 2017): [Read]

Work in progress:

Big Push – US induced regional growth and its spillovers in post-WWII Europe

I show the long-lasting spatial effects of the US intervention after WWII on subsequent regional economic inequality. First results show that the US pushed its occupation zone in terms of population growth and in terms sectoral development more than any other post-WII occupation power (UK, France, USSR). However, I also focus on border effects. Initial results indicate that the economic prosperity in the US zone started to spread to adjacent regions in the 1960s.

Info:

First draft will be available in Winter/Spring 2019

Long-run Spatial Effects of Political Uncertainty – Evidence from Occupied Post-WWII Austria [Read]

(with F. Rösel)

We identify the long-run effects of political uncertainty on regional economic growth. We exploit the decade of high-level uncertainty in post-WWII Austria. Austria was occupied by the Western Allies and the Soviets between 1945 and 1955. Hand-collected population figures based on census data, food-vouchers and electorate data allow us to show that people anticipate a loss of market access in times of uncertainty. Municipalities in the western occupation zone (WOZ) which are located close to the temporary intra-Austrian border relatively shrink by abound 30% in comparison to WOZ municipalities further away. The largest annual relative shrinkage during occupation can be observed for the period from 1949 to 1953, the years in which tensions between the USA and the Soviet Union increased and a potential division of Austria like in Germany was feared. Relative shrinkage of temporary border regions did not stop until the mid-1980s. We provide evidence for three different channels explaining long-run effects. First, young people left the temporary border regions, settled further away and get children in the years after. Second, firms avoided to place their relocated industrial plants from the Soviet zone and Vienna near the temporary border. Third, investments of Marshall Aid were substantially lower in regions near the temporary border.

Presentations:

Invited Seminars: HU Berlin

Conferences/Workshops: EHES Pisa, EPCS Freiburg, ifo Munich, TU Dresden

Info:

Revised version available upon request