MRes/PhD student profiles

Below you can find information about our current and past PhD students. Click on the name to find out more.

Hanwei Huang, PhD candidate and CEP associate


I am a PhD student studying economics in the LSE. I am also affiliated with the Centre of Economic Performance (CEP), one of the largest research centres in the LSE. My main research interest is international trade.

One thing that I have learned from the faculties is that economics is not just about mathematics, it should answer interesting economics questions. Over the past few years in the LSE, I have been conducting a few research related to China. This is not surprising given my Chinese origin. Given the anti-globalization current that we have been witnessing, it is also quite relevant to the academic and policy circle to understand how China has become a global manufacturing power house and the champion of global trade.

My work features a close link between theory and empirics, another lesson I have learned in the LSE. My first piece of work done in the LSE focuses on the evolving structure of Chinese production and export. My second paper, which is a joint work with my supervisor Professor Ottaviano, studies how Chinese exporter producing multiple products respond to competition due to comparative advantage. My current research project studies how the domestic infrastructure construction boom that has been taking place in China has enabled China to make better use of globalization.

The most exciting part of LSE is that we are seated near the centre of the UK policy-making. I am fortunate enough to be able to be on a team from the CEP which has been studying various issues related to Brexit. It is only by doing this bit of work that I have seen how LSE research has shaped the debate in the media and the UK parliament.

As a one of the largest economics departments in the world, with numerous seminars and visitors every week, you bump into various people all the time. You might run into a workshop introducing machine learning. You might also hear people talking about big data in the Bean Counter, where we have our coffee. And I am very glad to be one of them here.

Stephan Maurer, PhD candidate and CEP associate


Job Market Candidate (Assistant Professor, University of Konstanz)

I came to the LSE in 2011 after having completed my MSc in Economics at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. Already during my undergraduate studies in St. Gallen, I had gotten hooked to economics and to the idea of doing a PhD, and my time in Barcelona further confirmed this.

My research is in applied economics broadly, at the intersection of labour economics, political economy, and economic history. Economic history is for me both a tool and an end itself - I am interested in better understanding historical events, but I also frequently use exogenous variation provided by history to study questions in labour economics and political economy.

What I really like about research and the academic profession is that it offers a lot of freedom and allows me to work independently on a variety of issues. For example, I have studied determinants of city growth in Iron Age Europe, but also local economic effects of resource booms in the early 20th century US South. I also enjoy teaching - during my time here, I have taught various courses and have found it very enriching. Being asked to explain concepts such that students can understand them often has deepened my own understanding. In this respect, I particularly enjoyed teaching in the MPA and MSc Programmes.

Research can also be frustrating. It involves a great deal of failed projects, ideas that do not materialize, and work that does not reap rewards. It is also very discontinuous - you can make great progress in few days, or feel like you’re banging your head against a wall for months. I was lucky to have two very dedicated supervisors to guide me through my PhD, helping me triage my ideas, strengthening my results by constantly questioning them, but also cheering me up when needed. My colleagues and friends at the LSE have also been a great help, not only but especially those from my cohort. Studying for the first year exams and going through the first research steps together has created a lot of cohesion and friendships that I am sure will continue to last for a long time.

After finishing my PhD, I will be joining the Department of Economics at the University of Konstanz as an Assistant Professor. I am very much looking forward to this new endeavour, but I will make sure to be back in London and at the LSE from time to time!