Empirical Methods in Economic Research and Policy Analysis

Methods for modeling and testing economic relationships using data are rapidly evolving. They become on the one hand more relevant, as the demand for evidence-based decision making increases in business as well as in the public sector. On the other hand it is more feasible as data becomes more abundant. Our research contributes to this development in a number of ways. One focus is on the development of methods for estimating causal relationships based both on structural and experimentalist approaches. The other focus is on non-linear and dynamic models. Our research comprises Bayesian and frequentist methods and it ranges from purely methodological projects to strongly applied ones.

Research projects

Exemplary project: Fatal Attraction? Access to Early Retirement and Mortality (A. Kuhn, J.-P. Wuellrich, J. Zweimüller)

While the retirement age in most developed countries rises, we wonder what a fall would imply. We take advantage of the change in unemployment insurance rules in Austria that allowed workers in eligible regions to withdraw permanently from employment up to 3.5 years earlier than workers in non-eligible regions. Using instrumental variable techniques to examine the causal impact of early retirement on mortality, we find that a reduction in the retirement age causes a significant increase in the risk of premature death – for males but not for females. Thus people should be careful about what they long for.

Selected research projects

Connections to courses

Some basic familiarity with empirical research methods is required for those particularly interested in our topic. Students focusing on this field by taking more advanced topic-related courses are well prepared to work in any position where they have to undertake, or at least understand, quantitative analyses. This includes banking, the public sector, as well as many other businesses. The following list provides examples of courses related to Empirical Methods in Economic Research and Policy Analysis

List of courses

More detailed information on each module can be found by copying the 8-digit code into the search field of the University’s course catalogue.

Course catalogue

Bachelor's level

Statistics AOEC0010
Introductory Econometrics BOEC0004
Applied Statistics - Regression Analysis BOEC0076

Master's level

Empirical Methods MOEC0021 
Analysis of Microdata MOEC0049
Time Series Analysis MOEC0028
Introduction to Financial Time Series MFOEC161
Advanced Statistics MOEC0303
Fundamental Probability for Finance MOEC0294
Quantitative Economic History MOEC0051
MOEC0242
Program Evaluation and Causal Inference MOEC0338
Empirical Models in Monetary Policy MOEC0272

Doctoral level

Structural Estimation in Applied Microeconomics DOEC0468
Labor Economics DOEC0491
Empirical Industrial Organization DOEC0134

Faculty members involved

The following Faculty members research and/or teach in Empirical Methods in Economic Research and Policy Analysis.

Department of Banking and Finance (IBF)

Prof. Dr. Marc Paolella