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 research, I study nation-building policies, drivers of inequality between and within regions, as well as political polarization, often with focus on the 19th century. A recent version of CV can be found here.
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.
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.
When Autocrats Fail: Bismarck and the Socialists.
Abstract: In this paper, I analyze Bismarck’s attempts to reduce support for the revolutionary socialist party by introducing, first, a redistributive social insurance scheme for workers and, second, repressive anti-socialist laws. Overall, I find that Bismarck failed in reducing the support for the socialist party. To the contrary, the socialist party gained in constituencies more affected by his policies. For identification, I exploit local and industry-specific variation in treatment intensity due to ex-ante existing local healthcare. This variation allows me to use a difference-in-differences as well as a shift-share approach. I explain the result by an unintended consequence of the social insurance: one particular form of health insurance (so-called auxiliary funds) allowed the socialist party a new way of political organization in an otherwise repressive political environment.
Abstract: We study the "grain invasion" of the first globalization (1880-1913) as the historical counterpart to the modern "China shock". Similar to findings on recent trade shocks, we show that trade shocks in agriculture depress the economy of rural counties in Imperial Germany. However, we do not find a corresponding decline in income per capita which we attribute to high levels of labor migration. In line with this result, we also do not observe political polarization as a result of this globalization shock. Overall, our results suggest that the negative and persistent effects of trade shocks in the present are not a universal feature of trade integration. For our analysis, we combine data from three industrial and agricultural censuses on the county-level with national trade data at the product level. For causal identification, we instrument trade exposure with trade exposure for Italy.
On the Origins of National Identity. German Nation-Building after Napoleon, with Nikolaus Wolf.
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.
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.
Winter Term 2021/2022
Seminar Regional and Political Polarization, with Miriam Roehrkasten
Seminar Empirical Research, with Nikolaus Wolf
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 Economic History I, 1800-1914