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: Felix Schaff Personal Website
Exploring the Historical Causes of Economic Inequality in Pre-Industrial Germany, c. 1400-1800.