I am a political economist with an interest in the role of fiscal policy in the process of institutional change in advanced economies. In the academic year 2017-18, I am a John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow at Harvard University's Center for European Studies.

I am currently on leave from the University of Zurich, where I work as a senior researcher in comparative political economy. Before coming to Zurich, I was a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. I received my PhD from Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. In 2012 and 2013, I spent seven months as a visiting researcher at Georgetown University and the International Monetary Fund. I hold a master's degree in economics from the University of St Gallen.

My dissertation combines approaches from economics and political science to analyze countries that have been running budget surpluses for an extended amount of time, often for more than a decade. It asks how these countries have used their surpluses: Were they saved, used for tax cuts or for financing new spending? My work combines a quantitative comparison of these countries with other developed democracies and a document-based case study account of the main mechanisms behind the quantitative results. I argue that surpluses have not signaled growing fiscal capacity but shrinking fiscal ambition and have thus failed to re-increase the fiscal capacity of the state. My dissertation has been awarded the Otto Hahn Medal for outstanding scientific achievements by the Max Planck Society and the Deutscher Studienpreis (German Thesis Award) by the Koerber Foundation.

I have a longstanding interest in academic debating and have developed quite substantial experience in competing in, judging, organizing, and teaching debating in both English and German. In 2012 and 2013, I served as the Chief Adjudicator of the German Universities Debating Championships. I am now serving as vice-president of the German Debating Society.

 © Photo: Körber-Stiftung / David Ausserhofer

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