I am an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London. I am also affiliated with the Central European Labour Studies Institute in Slovakia (as a research fellow) and with the Leibniz-Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS) Regensburg in Germany (as an associated researcher). I am a Fellow of the Global Labor Organization. I received my PhD from Princeton University in 2011, and my undergraduate degree from Gettysburg College in the US. I'm interested in political economy, economic development, emerging markets, comparative politics and democratization, and the politics and economics of transition. 

My writings do not reflect the opinion of any organization and are written in a personal capacity only.


NEW! An op-ed in the Global Post on Romania's recent protests and how to fight corruption in Eastern Europe.

NEW!Communism as the unhappy coming,” with Simeon Djankov (2018), forthcoming, Journal of Comparative Economics, also World Bank working paper and GLO working paper. Featured on Bloomberg and VoxEU piece. More media buzz: EconomistVjesti (Montenegro, front page of print newspaper), American Conservative, faktor.bg (in Bulgarian). 

NEW! War and social attitudes,” with Travers Barclay Child (2018), forthcoming, Conflict Management and Peace Science, also HiCN working paper and UCL Centre for Comparative Studies of Emerging Economies working paper

Do public fund windfalls increase corruption? Evidence from a natural disaster,” (with Nikolay Marinov) (2017), Comparative Political Studies 50(11), 1455-1488, featured in Financial TimesWashington Post (Monkey Cage)Standart newspaper (in Bulgarian), Bulgarian National Radio (in Bulgarian, 20.04.2015), Capital newspaper (in Bulgarian); SSRN version

Can diversity encourage entrepreneurship in transition economies?,” IZA World of Labor, 2017: 313.

Suffrage, labour markets and coalitions in colonial Virginia,” with Milena Nikolova (2017), European Journal of Political Economy  49: 108-122, IZA dicussion paper 10226 and SSRN version.

Destined for democracy? Labour markets and political change in colonial British America”, British Journal of Political Science, 2017, 47(1), 19-45, also EBRD working paper 134 (older version); SSRN version; Featured in: VOXPolicy Space, Washington Post (Monkey Cage)

How much should we trust life satisfaction data? Evidence from the Life in Transition Survey ,” (with Peter Sanfey), Journal of Comparative Economics, 2016, 44(3), 720-731; EBRD working paper 174SSRN version

The happiness gap in Eastern Europe,” (with Simeon Djankov and Jan Zilinsky), Journal of Comparative Economics, 2016, 44(1), 108-124; EBRD working paper versionSSRN version; Featured in: FT.comForbes Magazine Russia (in Russian)

The Great Recession and social preferences: Evidence from Ukraine,” (with Ralph De Haas and Milena Djourelova), Journal of Comparative Economics, 2016, 44(1), 92-107; EBRD working paper versionSSRN versionPresentation at JCE conference: Ukraine: Escape from Post Soviet Legacy? (Youtube, starts at 1:28), presentation slidesFeatured in Novoe Vremya (in Russian, April 2015) and once more in Novoe Vremya (in Russian, May 2015)

Religious diversity and entrepreneurship in transition: lessons for policy makers” (with Dora Simroth), IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, 2015, 4:5

Working papers

“Austerity and pro-sociality in Greece” (with Nicholas Sambanis and Anna Schultz)

“Religion and democracy” (with Jakub Polansky)

Policy writing

Chapter 4 of EBRD's 2011 Transition Report, Crisis in transition:the people's perspective

Chapter 3 of EBRD's 2013 Transition Report, Stuck in transition?

To contact me

Email: Nikolova.ele at gmail.com