This project investigates the deep economic and ideological causes of political radicalization
and revolutionary violence by providing a historical perspective on the 1789 French Revolution.
The project studies the incentives of the three main agents at work during the revolution: the
‟Stateˮ, the ‟peopleˮ and the revolutionary leaders. Part one examines whether the
development of a French national state with a centralized administration was one of the deep
causes of the Revolution. Part two studies whether increased economic competition at the
beginning of the Revolution contributed to the radicalization of individuals living in Paris. Part
three examines the voting behavior of radicalized politicians and how it relates to their personal
interests. The novel contribution of this project is to combine political economy and history to
determine which economic, ideological, and political transformations contributed to the
radicalization of the population. We will make use of novel archival data covering all of France
or using new microdata for Paris jointly with state-of-the-art causal inference techniques. By
focusing on events just before the start of the 1789 Revolution or immediately after its outbreak,
the proposal aims at determining not only the root causes of revolutionary violence but also its

ENOUGH – a new EU project that will identify how food industry can become net zero by 2050

The project ENOUGH has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. It will develop technologies, tools and methods to contribute to the EU’s farm to fork Strategy to achieve climate neutrality in the food industry. Prof. Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso (Department of Ibero-America Reasearch) coordinates the Economic Policy Working Package. The kick-off meeting was held online on October 18, 2021, with 28 project partners. Further information can be found here.

Coming to America: Immigration, Political Campaigning, and Polarization

Funder: German Research Foundation (DFG)
Project period:
Project website:

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding our research project "Coming to America: Immigration, Political Campaigning, and Polarization." The project is a cooperation with the Chair of International Economic and Development Policy at the Ruprechts-Karls-University of Heidelberg and the University of Western Australia. The project is funded for 24 months.

The world and the US in particular, have experienced rising political polarization and increasing migration flows in recent decades, in addition to growing cleavages around the topic of immigration. We aim to examine the impact of immigration on political ideologies and polarization along several dimensions. In Part a), we analyze the impact of immigrants and refugees on political ideologies and polarization at the local level by considering political ideologies of political candidates, the ideological composition of campaign contributions, Pew micro survey data on political beliefs, as well as polarization in TV viewership. In the Part b), we examine the political impact of immigration on 16 million campaign donors. Thereby, we advance the literature by understanding the context and conditions that determine differing political responses of individuals to immigration and refugee inflows. In Part c), we analyze the use of immigration-related political advertising and their influence on polarization. As immigration has become an important wedge issue in elections, politicians have tried to influence political outcomes by instrumentalizing immigrants in political campaigns. Understanding the conditions under which these campaigns are successful, as well as the type of donor reacting to these campaigns, will further our understanding of the role of political campaigns in the political impact of immigration. Throughout all parts, the proposed project draws on unique and previously unexploited individual-level microdata on the universe of refugees that entered the United States between 1975 and 2015, which we extend with county-level refugee data up to 2018. Moreover, we develop a new identification strategy based on an arbitrary distance threshold within which refugees without family ties in the US have to be settled. Altogether, we will examine novel questions, introduce new data, and develop new identification strategies.

China in Africa: Exploring the Consequences for Economic and Social Development

Funder: Leibniz Association
Project period: April 2021 to March 2024
Project website

The research project studies the effects that China’s growing economic engagement has on African economies, and how China’s economic presence is perceived by African citizens. To this effect, the key dimensions of trade, investment, aid, debt, and migration flows from China to Africa (and vice versa) are analyzed.

Since the turn of the millennium, as part of its “going out” policy, China has heavily expanded its engagement in Africa. This is visible across the African continent and holds for bilateral trade relations, overseas investment, development aid, and the immigration of Chinese workers. While economic theory suggests net benefits of increased competition and global integration, Chinese activities are frequently criticized for their potential adverse consequences on African countries and their citizens.

This research project aims to shed new light on the economic and social effects of China’s engagement in Africa along all key dimensions - trade, investment, aid, debt, and migration - and also to get a better understanding of how China’s presence is perceived by African citizens. While most previous research has focused on cross-country regression analysis and case studies, we provide novel empirical evidence by using rigorous econometric approaches at the level of subnational regions and individual citizens, which is complemented by experimental and survey-based methods. Given that up to 90 percent of the world’s poor will live in Africa by 2030, understanding the impacts of China’s engagement is of key relevance from a development perspective.

Our results will also inform European decision makers on how to adapt their trade, investment and development policies to China’s rising presence in Africa. We will also address African audiences through conferences and workshops where we can build on existing networks of the project partners. Several new data sets generated in the project will be shared with the research community in order to trigger follow-up analyses.

To pursue the research agenda effectively, Kiel Institute and University of Goettingen, which combine excellence in all the topics covered by the project, will collaborate with Chinese and African partners to incorporate region-specific knowledge.

Empirical Analyses of Emerging Donors in Development Cooperation

Funder: German Research Foundation (DFG)
Project period: since 2015
Project website

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding our research project "Empirical Analyses of Emerging Donors in Development Cooperation." The research project is being carried out in cooperation with the Chair of International Economic and Development Policy at Heidelberg University. The project involves funding for 18 months.