Welcome to my personal website.
I am a Professor of Economic History at the University of Cologne, a Member in the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy, a CESifo Research Fellow, a CEPR Research Affiliate, a CAGE Research Fellow, an Editorial Board member at The Journal of Economic History and Explorations in Economic History, and an Associate Editor at The Economic Journal.
My research focuses on economic history and long-run development. In my studies, I analyze historically important events and factors that determine differences in development over time and across space. Specifically, I am interested in the consequences of institutional reforms such as the implementation of mandatory health insurance, the abolition of labor coercion, or the extension of political franchise. Additionally, I am interested in patterns of knowledge and technology diffusion in physical and social networks. A large part of my work focuses on the economic development of the German state of Prussia during the 18th and 19th centuries - a period of fundamental changes in the transition of sustained growth. Using Prussia as a laboratory, I can typically draw on rich administrative data, digitized from Prussian censuses originally collected by the statistical office. Such detailed data allow the application of econometric methods aimed understanding more about the direction of causality in the relationships under analysis.
Work in Progress
Structural Change, Elite Capitalism, and the Emergence of Labor Emancipation (with Quamrul Ashraf, Francesco Cinnirella, Oded Galor, and Boris Gershman)
R&R at Review of Economic Studies
CESifo Working Paper No. 6423, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 12822, earlier circulated as 'Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Emergence of Labor Emancipation'
Watch a talk at Quantitative History Webinar Series
Articles in Refereed Journals
Religious Practice and Student Performance: Evidence from Ramadan Fasting (with Guido Schwerdt and Maurizio Strazzeri)
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 205, 2023, 100-119 [DOI]
Policy columns at VoxEU and Ökonomenstimme, Covered at The National News
Bismarck's Health Insurance and the Mortality Decline (with Stefan Bauernschuster and Anastasia Driva)
Journal of the European Economic Association, 18(5), 2020, 2561-2607 [DOI] [Data]
Policy column at VoxEU, mentioned at Smithsonian.com
Immigration and the Diffusion of Technology: The Huguenot Diaspora in Prussia
American Economic Review, 104(1), 2014, 84-122 [DOI] [Data]
Discussed at 'A Fine Theorem', Featured in World Bank's JDC Quarterly Digest
Reprinted in Knortz, H. and M. Schulte Beerbühl (eds.) Migrationsforschung - interdisziplinär & diskursiv
Education and Catch-up in the Industrial Revolution (with Sascha O. Becker, Ludger Woessmann)
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 3(3), 2011, 92-126 [DOI] [Data]
Policy columns at VoxEU and Ökonomenstimme