My name is Claudius Gräbner and I am an economist working as a research associate at the Institute of Socio-Economics of the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany) and the Institute of Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy (ICAE) of the Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria). I am also a research fellow of the Institute for future-fit economies (ZOE).
My research is mainly concerned with the socio-economic effects of globalization, the determinants for international competitiveness, economic complexity, institutions and socio-economic development. Besides, I am also interested in economic methodology, in particular how economic models can be helpful in understanding real economic systems.
On this homepage I provide some information and material about the research projects I am responsible for, my teaching and lecturing activites, my research, and myself.
One important avenue for socio-economic development is collective learning. That the collective knowledge in a society is an important determinant of the standard of living (and probably also of their level of inequality) has been demonstrated by numerous empirical studies. However, the mechanisms through which individuals learn collectively are still poorly understood. To pave the way for further work in this area we wrote a literature review entitled Theory and Empirics of Capability Accumulation: Implications for Macroeconomic Modelling, in which we cover work from organization studies, economics, sociology, and management sciences. Our aim is to distill results that can help us to consider processes of collective learning more adequately in macroeconomic modeling. The motivation for this comes, inter alia, from our previous research on the role of collective knowledge accumulation for polarization processes in the European Union (see here, here and here). In another working paper, Capability accumulation and product innovation: an agent-based perspective, we take a first step towards the integration of the corresponding innovation studies in macroeconomic agent-based models by developing a module of product innovation. Later, this module should be part of a larger model that captures the processes of capability accumulation in more detail and that could be used to develop policy measures that foster convergence in Europa, and, later, on a global scale. All this work is part of my project funded by Rebuilding Macroeconomics.
This semester I taught a course on agent-based modeling and economic methodology at the Cusanus Hochschule in Germany. The idea of the course was to combine learning the techniques necessary to build ABM in the programming language Python and acquiring the philosophical tools and language to discuss the adequacy of models and their alternatives. The course material, which exists only in German, is available here.
The paper Is the Eurozone disintegrating? Macroeconomic divergence, structural polarisation, trade and fragility, which is joint work with Jakob Kapeller, Philipp Heimberger and Bernhard Schütz, has been published in the Cambridge Journal of Economics It is openly available and investigates the mechanisms underlying structural divergence among European countries.
The paper The heterogeneous relationship between income and inequality: a panel co-integration approach, which has been joint work with Svenja Flechtner, is now published open access in the journal Economics Bulletin. In the paper we quantify the long-term relationship between income inequality and GDP per capita using panel co-integration techniques. We provide some new empirical insights, the most important of which are: first, the relationship depends on whether market-based or disposable-income-based measures for inequality are used, and, second, the relationship is not uniform around the world: some countries experience a positive, others a negative relationship. The take-away is that using panel estimators that average across countries can be highly misleading and shallow the heterogeneous development trajectories.
The paper Structural change in times of increasing openness: assessing path dependency in European economic integration, which is joint work with Jakob Kapeller, Philipp Heimberger and Bernhard Schütz, has been published in the Journal of Evolutionary Economics. It is openly available and studies how an increase in economic openness in Europe has impacted on convergence and divergence dynamics among European countries.
We just completed a research project for the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, in which we study polarization patterns in Europe, and provide some suggestions for adequate policy responses. The study alongside additional material can be found here. An English translation is available here.
I have produced a number of new working papers on which any feedback is highly welcome. Two of the papers are empirical: In the first one, The heterogeneous relationship between income and inequality: a panel co-integration approach, we quantify the long-term relationship between inequality and GDP per capita using panel co-integration techniques. We provide some new empirical insights, the most important of which are: first, the relationship depends on whether market-based or disposable-income-based measures for inequality are used, and, second, the relationship is not uniform around the world: some countries experience a positive, others a negative relationship. This delineates a number of interesting avenues for future research. The second short empirical paper, Export performance, price comeptitiveness and technology: Revisiting the Kaldor paradox, asks whether the Kaldor paradox, according to which higher relative labor costs and less favorable terms of trade are associated with higher export shares, is still observable and how it can be rationalized.
The other two working papers are theoretical: in Defining institutions - A review and a synthesis we develop a taxonomy of definitions that distinguishes between model-based and non-model-based definitions. Against this backdrop we review existing definitions of economic institutions and identify a shared idea of most definitions, according to which institutions are "codifiable systems of social structures(in particular norms and rules) that lead to inclinations for people to act in specific ways". The second theoretical paper, Unrealistic models and how to identify them: on accounts of model realisticness, is concerned with the question: How can we classify a model as being realistic or unrealistic? This seemingly straightforward question is philosophically interesting since it touches on a number of contested areas, such as the concept of representation, the nature of model-world comparisons and the ontology of models.
I am happy to receive the Herbert Simon Award for the best paper by a young scholar, awarded by the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE), for my working paper Pluralism in Economics: Its critiques and their lessons, which I have co-authored with Birte Strunk and for which any feedback is still very welcome. Here is also a nice note in the Heterodox Economics newsletter, along with additional information on the EAEPE conference in Nice. I really enjoyed the conference and will certainly attent the conference next year in Warsaw as well.
When working on topics related to globalization and economic openness, one is quickly confronted with a considerable number of different measures for economic openness. Thus, we wrote a review entitled Measuring Economic Openness: A review of existing measures and empirical practices in which we present, discuss and compare various measures for openness. We provide for a taxonomy of such measures and show with a practical example that the choice of the measure is very important for the outcome of any quantitative analysis of economic openness. Any feedback is very welcome!
I have launched this video-based introduction to ABM in Python. It consists of scripts, and videos explaining hands-on the content of the scripts. The course aims to teach people without previous experience in programming both the basics in the programming language Python as well as the basics of agent-based modelling using Python. For now, the videos are only available in German, but the scripts are also available in English (see the English course homepage). For any video block there is a feedback form, and I greatly value your feedback on this course. This feedback will not only help me to improve the course in the future, but also build a good English version of the course.
I was invited to give talk during this great symposium on theory development with agent-based models. My presentation is about how economists construct theory, and what lessons one can learn from this process - in the positive as well as in the negative sense. The slides are available here (some pictures were removed to avoid potential copyright issues). Who is interested in these kind of questions might also have a look at my new paper on model validation and verification in JASSS. As always, any feedback is highly appreciated.
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