Once in a while, I feel like sharing a thought. So let’s see whether blogs are for me. You will see that I’m passionate about economics, politics, travelling, food, friends, and technology.
We always discussed a lot about politics at home. In my teenager years I then discovered that reading the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in my view the best newspaper in Germany, gave me a lot of pleasure, because discussions are more fun when you’re well informed, after all. I must have started by the age of 14 and haven’t stopped ever since.
My dad worked for Daimler-Benz at that time, so he often shared office stories. That’s why I was first also very much interested in the business side of things, and when it came to choosing a major for my undergrad studies I first thought about going for business administration. I didn’t have to choose until my second year of studies, but I soon realised that I found economics much more interesting than business administration.
Later, when I visited UC Berkeley’s Ph.D. program during the fourth year of my studies I discovered that for me conclusions are much more convincing if they are empirically founded, so I ventured more and more into empirical work. In the beginning, I was interested in the methods and in particular how one can model unobserved differences between individuals, which later led to some publications on treatment effects models and instrumental variables estimation, after I got my Ph.D. from the University of Mannheim.
During my time at Tilburg University, where I’m currently an associate professor, I then started to work on more and more serious empirical applications that combine methodological contributions and the aim of answering relevant real world questions. They deal increasingly with online markets and how they should be regulated, and how the design of platforms such as eBay can be improved (to some extent this means going back to the business side of things). Another big theme are health care markets and how adverse selection and moral hazard challenge their functioning. More about this later, for sure.
In this blog, I think a recurring theme will be that we actually know less than we often think we do, and that the only way to improve on this is some kind of empirical approach combined with interpretation of the evidence based on some sort of theory. I will probably also use it to talk about interesting papers or share some advice to graduate students. Some posts will be rather short and you can see them as some sort of diary of what I have been thinking about.
Let’s see where this all takes me.