Mr Felix Schaff

Mr Felix Schaff

PhD student

Department of Economic History

Languages
English, French, German, Italian
Key Expertise
Economic inequality, Premodern European and German History

About me

My main research interests are in the fields of economic inequality, political economy, and applied econometrics. In my PhD project I study historical wealth inequality in Europe and in particular Germany. I focus on inequality in the very long run, from the Black Death in the 14th century until the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. I try to find answers to a major puzzle in economic history: why was economic inequality already high when industrialisation and modern economic growth began?

In the first part of my project, I use quantitative information from archive documents to estimate the extent of inequality. In essence, I construct inequality statistics, such as the top10% wealth share and the Gini coefficient, for a pre-statistical age.

In the second part of my project, I study some of the causes driving the patterns observed in the data. I am interested in how political economy factors such as warfare, religious confession and governmental institutions have shaped wealth inequality in the long run.

My latest article “Economic Inequality in Preindustrial Germany: ca. 1300 - 1850” (with Guido Alfani and Victoria Gierok) is forthcoming in the Journal of Economic History.

For more information about my research and CV please visit my personal website.

Personal Website

https://sites.google.com/view/felixschaff

Thesis Working Title

Exploring the Historical Causes of Economic Inequality in Pre-Industrial Germany, c. 1400-1800.