University of Bonn
Kaiserplatz 7--9, 53113 Bonn, Germany


I am a research fellow at the University of Bonn. My research interests are in Economic History and Empirical Macroeconomics.

My doctoral advisor is Prof. Dr. Moritz Schularick.


No Price Like Home: Global House Prices, 1870--2012, with Moritz Schularick and Thomas Steger
American Economic Review (forthcoming)

How have house prices evolved over the long run? This paper presents annual house prices for 14 advanced economies since 1870. We show that real house prices stayed constant from the 19th to the mid-20th century, but rose strongly and with substantial cross-country variation in the second half of the 20th century. Land prices, not replacement costs, are the key to understanding the trajectory of house prices. Rising land prices explain about 80 percent of the global house price boom that has taken place since World War II. Our findings have implications for the evolution of wealth-to-income ratios, the growth effects of agglomeration, and the price elasticity of housing supply.

Summary on VoxEu
Reactions: Financial Times; FAZ

Household Debt and Economic Recovery: Evidence from the U.S: Great Depression

EHES Working Paper No. 36

The Great Recession has focused renewed attention on the role of household leverage in the business cycle. Household debt overhang and the ensuing process of deleveraging are often cited as factors holding back economic recovery. This paper studies the relationship between household debt and economic performance during the Great Depression in the U.S. on the state level. Using a newly compiled dataset, I present evidence that debt overhang in the household sector acted as a severe drag on economic recovery in the 1930s. States with higher initial debt-to-income ratios recovered considerably slower. These findings point toward a close link between the accumulation of debt and the severity and duration of recessions.

White Picket Finance: : The Remaking of the U.S. Mortgage Market, 1932-1960
in: Public Policies and the Direction of Financial Flows, edited by Hubert Bonin, Niels-Viggo Haueter, Alfredo Gigliobianco, and Harold James, 2012

This paper tracks the history of government intervention in the U.S. mortgage market between 1932 and the 1960s, a period in which the system for housing finance underwent a fundamental transformation. Whereas prior to 1930 the government had little involvement in the mortgage market, by the 1960s it was a major player. These interventions were triggered in part by economic crises, particularly the Great Depression. Yet, as I argue in this paper, they were also motivated by a cultural understanding of homeownership as central to American identity and the rise of housing policy as a substitute for other forms of social assistance. Many of the instruments established during these years to direct the flow of credit toward housing would emerge as central features of the housing market that persist to the present day. These policies mark the beginning of the permanent subsidisation of residential mortgage credit. In addition, beyond introducing long-term debt instruments to the consumer, they fostered the depersonalisation of credit relations. In this way, I also show that some of the weaknesses that have contributed to current U.S. housing market woes found their inception in the policy responses to the Great Depression.


Book Review: Housing and Mortgage Markets in Historical Perspective, The Economic History Review 69(1), 402-403, with Moritz Schularick