Work in Progress


  • Railways, Growth, and Industrialization in a Developing German Economy, 1829-1910, with Sebastian T. Braun, Journal of Economic History 82(4):1182-1221, (2022).
    Accepted version / Working paper / Data

    This paper studies the average and heterogeneous effects of railway access on parish-level population, income, and industrialization in Württemberg during the Industrial Revolution. We show that the growth-enhancing effect of the railway was much greater in parishes that were larger and more industrial at the outset. However, such early industrial parishes were rare in the relatively poor German state. This might explain why we find small average growth effects, which only increase at the end of the 19th century. Heterogeneity in the impact of the railway thus increased economic disparities within Württemberg and contributed to the state’s relatively sluggish growth.

  • Poverty, Pollution, and Mortality: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in a Developing German Economy, Economic History Review 75(4):1026-1053, (2022).
    Working paper / Media coverage: The Long Run Blog, LSE Economic History Blog, Long-Run Health Matters Blog

    The paper provides a detailed analysis of excess mortality during the “Spanish Flu” in a developing German economy and the effect of poverty and air pollution on pandemic mortality. The empirical analysis is based on a difference-in-differences approach using annual all-cause mortality statistics at the parish level in the Kingdom of Württemberg. The paper complements the existing literature on urban pandemic severity with comprehensive evidence from mostly rural parishes. The results show that middle and high-income parishes had a significantly lower increase in mortality rates than low-income parishes. Moreover, the mortality rate during the 1918 influenza pandemic was significantly higher in highly polluted parishes compared to least polluted parishes. Furthermore, the paper provides a detailed description of mortality statistics in Württemberg and new excess mortality rate estimates for Germany and its states.

  • A county-level database on expellees in West Germany, 1939-1961, with Sebastian T. Braun, Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Journal of Social and Economic History 108(4):522-540, (2021).

    Between 1944 and 1950, almost eight million expellees arrived in West Germany. This paper introduces a rich county-level database on the expellees’ socio-economic situation in post-war Germany. The database contains regionally disaggregated information on the number, origin, age, gender, religious denomination and labour force status of expellees. It also records corresponding information on the West German population as a whole, on the pre-war economic and religious structure of host and origin regions, and on wartime destruction in West Germany. The paper illustrates the scope of the database by studying the determinants of county-level differences in expellee inflows.

  • Ausweitung sicherer Herkunftsstaaten: Folgen für die Zahl der Asylanträge (Safe Countries of Origin: Effects on the Number of Asylum Applications), with Sebastian T. Braun, Wirtschaftsdienst (11):752-757, (2015).
    Media coverage: FAZ, Deutsche Welle (DW)

    This article analyses the effect of declaring states to be safe countries of origin on the number and processing time of asylum applications. We use a differences-in-differences approach to compare the number of asylum applications made from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia, which were all declared safe countries in 2014, with the applications received from the neighbouring states of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro, which are not yet designated safe countries. The comparison indicates that the declaration has substantially reduced the number of asylum applications from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia, but not their processing time.