• Welcome

    I am post-doctoral researcher at the Humboldt University Berlin. My research interests lie in the fields of economic history and political economy. In my work, I investigate nation-building policies, the drivers of inequality, the consequences of globalization, and the rise of the political left, often with a focus on 19th century Germany. My dissertation "The Political Economy of Social Identity in 19th Century Germany" was awarded the Gino Luzzatto Prize by the European Historical Economics Society for the best dissertation in economic history submitted between July 2019 and June 2021 (summary published in the European Review of Economic History here). A recent version of CV can be found here.

  • Research



    Testing Marx. Inequality, Concentration, and Political Polarization in Late 19th Century Germany, with Charlotte Bartels and Nikolaus Wolf. Review of Economics and Statistics Forthcoming.

    [CRC Discussion Paper No. 374, January 2023][Replication Files]

    Abstract: We study the dynamics of capital accumulation, income inequality, capital concentration, and voting up to 1914. Based on new panel data for Prussian regions, we re-evaluate the famous Revisionism Debate between orthodox Marxists and their critics. We show that changes in capital accumulation led to a rise in the capital share and income inequality, as predicted by orthodox Marxists. But against their predictions, this did neither lead to further capital concentration nor to more votes for the socialists. Instead, trade unions and strike activity limited income inequality and fostered political support for socialism, as argued by the Revisionists.


    Weber Revisited: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Nationalism, with Iris Wohnsiedler and Nikolaus Wolf. Journal of Economic History, 80(3), 710-745, 2020.

    [PDF Open Access][Replication Files][Online Appendix][VoxEU Column][Ökonomenstimme Column][FAZ Article in German]

    Abstract: We revisit Max Weber's hypothesis on the role of Protestantism for economic development. We show that nationalism is crucial to both, the interpretation of Weber’s Protestant Ethic and empirical tests thereof. For late nineteenth-century century Prussia we reject Weber’s suggestion that Protestantism mattered due to an “ascetic compulsion to save”. Moreover, we find that income levels, savings, and literacy rates differed between Germans and Poles, not between Protestants and Catholics, using pooled OLS and IV regressions. We suggest that this result is due to anti-Polish discrimination.

    Working Papers

    Trade Shocks, Labor Markets, and Migration in the First Globalization, with Richard Bräuer. Conditionally accepted at The Economic Journal.

    Abstract: This paper studies the economic and political effects of a large trade shock in agriculture-the grain invasion from the Americas-in Prussia during the first globalization. We show that this shock led to a decline in the employment rate and overall income. However, we do not observe declining per capita income and political polarization, which we relate to a strong migration response. Our results suggest that the negative and persistent effects of trade shocks we see today are not a universal feature of globalization, but depend on labor mobility. For our analysis, we digitize data from Prussian industrial and agricultural censuses on the county level and combine it with national trade data at the product level. We exploit the cross-regional variation in cultivated crops within Prussia and instrument with Italian and US trade data to isolate exogenous variation.


    On the Origins of National Identity. German Nation-Building after Napoleon, with Nikolaus Wolf.

    [CEPR Discussion Paper No. 16314, July 2021]

    Abstract: How did political elites shape national identities? In this paper, we investigate the success of nation-building policies in early 19th century Germany. To elicit changes in identity at the level of individuals we use data on first names given in over 40.000 families in German cities. Using changes in the Prussian territory as well as variation within the same families over time, we find that parents in cities treated by nation building policies responded by choosing national (rather than Prussian) first names for their children.


    Income Misperception and Populism, with Thilo N. H. Albers and Fabian Kosse.

    [IZA DP No. 15673, October 2022]

    Abstract: We propose that false beliefs about the own current economic status are an important factor for explaining populist attitudes. Along with the subjects’ receptiveness to right-wing populism, we elicit their perceived relative income positions in a representative survey of German households. We find that people with pessimistic beliefs about their income position are more attuned to populist statements. Key to understanding the misperception-populism relationship are strong gender differences in the mechanism: Misperception triggers income dissatisfaction for both men and women, but the former are much more likely to channel their discontent into affection for populist ideas.


    Reigning in Radicals. Bismarck’s Welfare State and the Socialists.

    Can the government reduce the popularity and radicalism of the fundamental opposition by implementing its demands? Bismarck tried to achieve both against the socialist party with the introduction of the welfare state in late 19th century Germany. Results based on a difference-in-differences design show that the socialist party became more popular in elections due to the reform. Comparing the impact among voters of reform-oriented and radical strategies, I find that the former was crucial for the growing electoral success. Overall, my results suggest a trade-off between popularity and radicalism for governments using a targeted reform to slow down the opposition.


    Work in Progess

    Industrialization, Returns, Inequality, with Thilo Albers and Timo Stieglitz.


    Agricultural Crises and the Demise of Weimar's Democracy, with Thilo Albers and Monique Reiske.


    Organising Collective Action. On the Origins of the German model of Industrial Relations, with Iris Wohnsiedler.


    Other publications

    The Political Economy of Social Identity in 19th Century Germany, European Review of Economic History, Forthcoming [summary of my dissertation].


    National identity, economic integration, and the rise of Prussia, with Nikolaus Wolf, In: Ulrich Pfister and Nikolaus Wolf (eds.). An Economic History of the First German Unification. Routledge, 19-37, 2023.

    German version: Nationale Identität, ökonomische Integration und der Aufstieg Preusses, with Nikolaus Wolf, In: Ulrich Pfister et al. (eds.). Deutschland 1871. Die Nationalstaatsbildung und der Weg in die Moderne Wirtschaft. Mohr Siebeck, 23-47, 2021.


    Review "Capital and Ideology" by Thomas Piketty, with Till Breyer, Critical Inquiry 47(3), 613-615, 2021.

    German version: Theorieblog.


    Review "Enacting Dismal Science. New Perspectives on the Performativity of Economics" by Ivan Boldyrev and Ekaterina Svetlova (eds.), with Anja Breljak, Journal of Economic Methodology 24(4), 434-440, 2017.


  • Teaching

    Summer Term 2023

    Seminar Empirical Research in Economics, with Nikolaus Wolf

    Tutorial European Economic History I, 1800-1914

    Previous Teaching

    Seminar Political Economy of Radicalization, with Monique Reiske

    Seminar Regional and Political Polarization, with Miriam Roehrkasten

    Seminar Political Economy, with Thilo Albers

    Seminar Economics of Identity, with Nikolaus Wolf

    Seminar Philosophy of Economics

    Seminar Economics of Nationalism

    Seminar Economic Crises and Political Change, with Nikolaus Wolf

    Lecture Introduction to Economics and Economic History, with Thilo Albers

    Tutorial Advanced International Trade, with Wolf-Fabian Hungerland

    Tutorial European Economic History I, 1800-1914