EUI Max Weber Programme - Summer 2021
Summer 2021
EUI MWP Newsletter 21

Welcome to the Summer 2021 Issue of the
Max Weber Programme Newsletter

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Feature Articles

EUGENIA VELLADennis Hutschenreiter, Tommaso Santini, and Eugenia Vella

In this paper, we study the sectoral reallocation of employment due to automation in Germany. Empirical evidence by Dauth et al. (2021) shows that robot adoption has induced a shift of employment from the manufacturing to the service sector, leaving total employment unaffected. We rationalize this evidence through the lens of a two-sector, general equilibrium model with matching frictions and endogenous participation.

Few papers have studied the effect of automation on employment in a multi-sectoral model. Berg et al. (2018) argue that the inclusion of a non-automatable sector amplifies the difference between the effect of automation on low- and high-skill workers. Sachs et al. (2019) also include a non-automatable sector in an overlapping generations model. They study the possibility of one generation improving their welfare at future generations’ expense through robot adoption. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to build a two-sector general equilibrium model with search and matching frictions to analyze the long-run impact of automation on both sectoral and aggregate employment.

We consider a representative household that decides how to allocate its members between non-participants in the labor markets, job-searchers in manufacturing, and job-searchers in services. The household also accumulates capital. On the production side, there is a representative firm in each sector. The manufacturing firm decides how many vacancies to post and how much capital to borrow from the household. Automation increases the capital intensity of the technology in the manufacturing sector. This can be motivated by the idea that some work operations, formerly performed by humans, are now executed by robots (Acemoglu and Restrepo (2018)). In the service sector, we assume for simplicity’s sake that no capital is needed, and thus the representative firm decides only the number of vacancies to post.

Facts and Figures about the Applications to the Max Weber Fellowships in 2020

Key takeaways

After calibrating our model to the German economy in 1994, we perform steady-state comparative statics to study the long-run impact of automation on sectoral reallocation of employment. As the stock of robots increased by 87% in Germany from 1994 to 2014, we can qualitatively compare the model economy’s reaction to an increase in the degree of automation with the sectoral employment shares we observe in Germany over time.

The right panel of Figure 1 shows the model implied values of sectoral employment levels together with total employment. A higher degree of automation, which we take as a proxy of robot adoption, increases employment in services and decreases it in manufacturing. Despite the adjustments of sectoral employment, total employment remains constant, consistent with the empirical evidence of Dauth et al. (2021). In the left panel of Figure 1, we plot the employment shares in the German economy, which we compute using data from the German Federal Statistical Office (DESTATIS). The model qualitatively replicates the observed pattern in sectoral employment.

To assess how well our model can explain the sectoral reallocation of employment in Germany, we focus on comparing two steady states. These two steady states correspond to the start and end years in the empirical analysis of Dauth et al. (2021). The model predicts a decline of 27% in the ratio of manufacturing employment to service employment, which is reasonably close to the one found in the aggregate data for the German economy, i.e., 32%.

Having shown that the model replicates the sectoral reallocation we observe in the data, we then ask the following question: What determines the extent of sectoral reallocation?

Two main parameters govern the strength of the sectoral reallocation of employment in the model: (1) the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor in the manufacturing sector α and (2) the elasticity of substitution between the outputs of the two sectors χ. Intuitively, in the first case, as α decreases, capital and labor become stronger complements in the production of the manufacturing good. As automation raises the return of capital for a given capital stock, in the long-run this leads to a higher capital stock in the steady state. The stronger the complementarity between the two inputs in manufacturing (i.e., the lower α), the higher is the relative demand for manufacturing workers. Therefore, the sectoral reallocation of employment due to automation is mitigated for lower values of α, as Figure 2 demonstrates.

Facts and Figures about the Applications to the Max Weber Fellowships in 2020

Note: The plotted variables are normalized to zero in the initial steady state. α denotes the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor in manufacturing production. χ­denotes the elasticity of substitution between the two sectoral goods.

Concerning the second parameter, we need to distinguish two different effects on production and employment in the service sector. First, since automation leads to a higher accumulation of capital in the long run and, thus, to higher household wealth, this will lead to a higher demand for services, which is a normal good. Second, the stronger the complementarity between the two goods in the economy is, the higher is the increase in the demand for services. Consequently, a higher substitutability (i.e., a higher χ) between service and manufacturing goods mitigates the increase in the demand for services and, thus, the sectoral reallocation of employment, as Figure 2 shows.

Conclusion
To sum up, we build a general equilibrium model with an automatable and a non-automatable sector and labor market frictions that is able to rationalize the empirical evidence presented by Dauth et al. (2021) on (i) the substantial sectoral reallocation of employment and (ii) the null-effect on total employment. We show that our calibrated model can reasonably explain the empirical strength of the sectoral reallocation of labor. Furthermore, we analyze which key parameters govern the magnitude of this effect in the model.

An interesting extension of our model would be to include heterogeneous agents and capital-skill complementarity (see e.g. Dolado et al. (2021) and Santini (2021)). With that extended framework, one could study the interplay between automation, sectoral automation, and inequality. We leave this topic for future research.

Download paper here.


References

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Feature Articles – COVID-19 Related

Elsa MassocThe buoyant literature on business power has explored the many ways in which banks may influence public authorities. Meanwhile, the matter of how states may influence banks has received less attention. Yet, banks are key players in the process of allocating resources to society and governments have strong incentives to influence this process, especially in times of crisis. How do public officials try and make profit-oriented banks comply when the latter are reluctant to do so? When do banks do what governments tell them to do? In two recently published articles, I show that whether banks comply (or not) with government requests – and at what costs for the State – can be explained by specific institutionalized modes of state-bank coordination in a given political economy.

My article "Having bank play along: state-bank coordination and state-guaranteed credit programs during the Covid-19 crisis in France and Germany ", published in the Journal of European Public Policy in May 2021, explores how states influenced the provision and allocation of bank credit during the Covid crisis. When the economy shut down, States called on the banks to help firms survive the crisis. Banks were reluctant to provide credit to millions of struggling firms during a global pandemic (banks’ traditional task is, after all, to assess and price the credit risk!), even with a 80 or 90% guarantee.

So how did States make banks play along, i.e. fulfill a mission of public interest? I compare the state guaranteed credit programs in France and Germany. The terms of the programs and the incentives provided to make banks play along differ in the two countries. French banks have arguably more structural power (i.e. higher non financial-sector dependence on bank credit) than German banks, but the latter were granted a more generous Covid-lending subsidy by the state. I show how typical institutionalized state-bank modes of coordination explain this variation. When state-bank coordination is characterized by mutual trust among a small number of socially homogeneous groups used to cooperating closely with each other (like in France), state officials can convince bankers to play along on terms that are relatively unfavorable for banks, because their demand comes as part of a long-term exchange of favors and bankers expect to gain from this relationship in the future. By contrast, when state-bank coordination is more at arm’s length (like in Germany), state officials have to resort to more straightforward pressures and, more effectively, monetary incentives to persuade banks to play along.

In another article published in New Political Economy in 2020, I show that similar mechanisms took place when States sought to influence banks' credit allocation in a totally different context: the Greek sovereign debt crisis.

What are the takeaways of these two articles? First, States do use private banks as instruments of public policy. Odds are short that other crises will soon occur and that States will seek to influence bank credit allocation again and more permanently. Banks can call the shots punctually but at what price and for how long?

Second, the mechanisms through which States manage to influence bank credit allocation largely build on inherited state-bank modes of coordination that escape public/democratic scrutiny. This may be acceptable during punctual crisis management, but poses both economic and democratic problems if public-led credit allocation is here to stay (and it likely is).


References

Elsa Clara Massoc (2021): Having banks ‘play along’ state-bank coordination and state-guaranteed credit programs during the COVID-19 crisis in France and Germany, Journal of European Public Policy, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2021.1924839
Elsa Clara Massoc (2020): When Do Banks Do What Governments Tell Them to Do? A Comparative Study of Greek Bonds’ Management in France and Germany at the Onset of the Euro-Crisis, New Political Economy, DOI: 10.1080/13563467.2020.1810214

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News

Call for ApplicationsThe call for the Max Weber Fellowships is open! Please find the application online at: eui.eu/apply?id=max-weber-fellowships

The Interdisciplinary Research Clusters for the 2022-2023 Fellowships are:

Democracy in the 21st century
In the first two decades of the 21st century, the broad, public identification with democratic values and practices – seen as unassailable since the Second World War – has been challenged in profound ways. While apparently still supreme as a political principle, democracy is seen to be eroded by new economic disparities, by pressures to circumscribe the perimeter of rights, and by the weakening of its societal roots. There are widespread fears that democracy has been hollowed out, with the meaning of democracy, which has always been a contested concept, being questioned and mistrusted. The tension between democratic representation and technocratic governance is unprecedented, while decisions are made by sheltered elites who pursue economic and functional imperatives. At the same time, various forms of illiberal democracy, authoritarianism, and oligarchy induce many to think that they can perform better than classical liberal democracies. With the decline of most forms of political intermediation, processes of individual empowerment and mobilization – also sustained by new technologies that reshape the context and the dynamics of political persuasion – point to the privatization of political socialization and participation. Combined, these factors nurture the perception that representative democracy should no longer be accepted as the gold standard for good governance.

In response to these challenges, we propose an interdisciplinary inquiry on the making and conditions of democracy in the 21st century. We believe that only a multi-disciplinary assessment can provide the vital insights that European society will need to re-build the legitimacy of democratic representation, the credibility of political institutions, and the social contract that underpins its sustainability. We will focus on several sub-themes, to be studied across the four EUI disciplines, both as a long-term perspective and in the present day. These themes include: the spaces and divisions of democracy; democratic participation and institutions; the rule of law; the development of populisms; and the role of, and consequences for, the European Union in the making of democratic institutions and society.

Inequality, welfare and social justice
The steady increase in economic inequality since 1980 in most EU countries and North America is today widely acknowledged as a major challenge for equal opportunities, democratic stability, economic prosperity and social cohesion at the national and supranational levels. After the postwar era of welfare state expansion, which helped to eradicate old-age poverty, and institutionalized universal access to health care, education and social insurance against unemployment and sickness as a matter of social citizenship rights since the 1959s, progress in social justice has seemingly come to a halt. In some parts of the OECD-world, earnings and benefits have stagnated while the macro economy continued to prosper. Income and wealth inequalities have grown continuously. What has changed in terms of the life chances of citizens, also in terms of health and life style, gender and well-being between the 1980s and today? How did we fare before and after World War II? How come the modern welfare state has not been able to catch up with imbalances in family demography, skill-biased technological change and economic internationalization? What are the implications for 21st-century welfare provision and democratic politics? To address all of these questions and more, we link the long history of (in-)equality to its (historical) economic, social and political causes and consequences, drawing on a wealth of data and multi-disciplinary analyses, including theories of justice and solidarity, ultimately to engage in a wide debate over policy ideas and solutions to contain and overcome the inequality conundrum in rich democracies.

Crisis of expert knowledge and authority
Even after years of study and practical experience the consequences of policies are uncertain. Agreement among experts on the soundness of many policy interventions is greater than realized by the general public, still there is legitimate disagreement. Furthermore, it is not sensible for an individual to invest years of effort in hopes of deciding what the best policies are. Because we cannot sensibly know ourselves what constitutes good policy we must rely on experts.

Following the financial crisis of 2008, we have witnessed an erosion of citizens’ trust in intellectual elites. The role of experts has been questioned. At the same time those who denounce academic expertise and pretend unwillingness to rely on experts follow their own (often self-proclaimed) ‘experts’. Unfortunately, the reliance on charlatans rather than experts often has profoundly negative consequences.

These issues are of importance to Europe and the EU. We have seen political parties denying expert knowledge on a range of issues from debt, growth, migration, and trade to medicine. These movements have strong popular support indicating that people are fed up with experts, and we must recognize that they are right to distrust experts as many have misbehaved.

The theme group on the crisis of expert knowledge aims to investigate why experts are under siege and what should be done.

Technological change and society
Technologies across areas such as information and communication technologies, biotechnologies, robotics, and artificial intelligence present a series of challenges for modern societies: ‘smart’ technologies change the workplace, the division of resources in society, the formation of social attitudes and opinions, the patterns and dynamic of social interactions, the allocation and exercise of power. This theme group aims to assess the novel social, economic, ethical, and legal questions that arise.

Technological change in the workplace has already contributed to automation in manufacturing, and advances in AI and robotics are likely to exacerbate this and extend it beyond manufacturing. Digital technologies change interactions in society: on the one hand they allow for greater ability to share, acquire and process information, but also enable increased surveillance and manipulation.  New technologies also raise ethical and legal issues, concerning how to prevent both misuse and underuse of technological developments.

This requires the assessment of opportunities and risks related to transformation induced by technologies, and research meant to translate legal/ethical requirements into prescriptions for the design of human-centred technologies or even directives addressed to intelligent artificial systems. The challenge is to ensure that highly developed technologies remain under human control, contribute to human well-being and autonomy, and are responsive to human values –while their development is also driven by economic, political and military interests. This research requires us to learn from the historical perspective on the connection between science, technology, and society, and to use economic, legal and sociological perspectives to provide insights for the future.

Environmental Challenges and Climate Change Governance
The challenges associated with climate change are omnipresent. There is overwhelming evidence that human-induced climate change is taking place, yet positions on how to react to this phenomenon are diverse. On a global level, disagreements reflect continuing inequalities between North and South. While representatives of the so-called First World demand energy consumption limitations and environmental protection efforts from countries like China, Brazil and India, representatives of the latter argue that the wealth and power of the Western world has long depended on the availability of cheap raw materials and resources from abroad. The legacies of colonialism and imperialism re-appear through the environmental back door and fuel debates about sustainability.

The struggle to agree on a definition of ‘sustainable development’ has been ongoing since the 1970s, with many of the problems raised but remaining unresolved. Today, many call for the strengthening of global governance mechanisms. This includes the institutionalisation of protections for global public goods, be it through international treaties, trade-related instruments or networks of public and private actors. There is also a growing interest in whether litigation can play a productive role.

Most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the multifaceted problems resulting from ever-increasing population density, deforestation, biodiversity loss, environmental pollution and profound global interconnectedness – not only in finance, economics and culture but also with regard to biological, ecological and environmental factors. The pandemic demonstrates the need for public health strategies that reach beyond national borders.

An interdisciplinary approach is required to address these problems. Research is needed that overcomes compartmentalised categories and embraces an integrated perspective. This cluster provides a forum for collaboration on climate and environmental governance within the EUI, in addition to promoting exchange and joint initiatives with business, government, NGOs and academic colleagues beyond the EUI. The cluster’s activities in 2021 include a seminar series, the organisation of an interdisciplinary workshop and the award of a fellowship to conduct research at the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU), which are housed at the EUI.

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The Max Weber Programme is proud to announce the incoming Max Weber Fellows 2021-2022.

Check them out here:

ANGHEL, Veronica (SPS) ANGHEL, Veronica (SPS)
BADENHOOP, Nikolai (LAW) BADENHOOP, Nikolai (LAW)
BAJENOVA, Tatyana (RSC) BAJENOVA, Tatyana (RSC)
BARTOLETTI, Tomás (HEC) BARTOLETTI, Tomás (HEC)
CASTIGLIONI , Michele (SPS) CASTIGLIONI , Michele (SPS)
COLFER, Barry (SPS) COLFER, Barry (SPS)
CORREA LOPERA, Guadalupe (ECO) CORREA LOPERA, Guadalupe (ECO)
CRAVO, Télio (HEC) CRAVO, Télio (HEC)
DI COCCO, Jessica (SPS) DI COCCO, Jessica (SPS)
DOBROWOLSKA, Anna (HEC) DOBROWOLSKA, Anna (HEC)
DOLGOPOLOV, Arthur (ECO) DOLGOPOLOV, Arthur (ECO)
DONNALOJA, Victoria (RSC) DONNALOJA, Victoria (RSC)
DYLAG, Matthew (LAW) DYLAG, Matthew (LAW)
FERRACANE, Martina Francesca (RSC) FERRACANE, Martina Francesca (RSC)
FINN, Victoria (RSC) FINN, Victoria (RSC)
LONK, Daniëlle (SPS) FLONK, Daniëlle (SPS)
FRENYO, Edit (LAW) FRENYO, Edit (LAW)
FUKUMOTO, Makoto (SPS) FUKUMOTO, Makoto (SPS)
GAGO, Maria (HEC) GAGO, Maria (HEC)
GARBIRAS-DIAZ, Natalia (SPS) GARBIRAS-DIAZ, Natalia (SPS)
GONZALES, Giulia (RSC) GONZALES, Giulia (RSC)
JOZWIAK, Andreas (SPS) JOZWIAK, Andreas (SPS)
KILIC, Gozde (HEC) KILIC, Gozde (HEC)
KLUGE, Emma (HEC) KLUGE, Emma (HEC)
KUHN, Eroll (SPS) KUHN, Eroll (SPS)
KURBAN, Dilek (LAW) KURBAN, Dilek (LAW)
LAURI, Cristiana (LAW) LAURI, Cristiana (LAW)
LEFEVRE, Catherine (HEC) LEFEVRE, Catherine (HEC)
LEPINAY, Thomas (RSC) LEPINAY, Thomas (RSC)
MADAR, Revital (LAW) MADAR, Revital (LAW)
MANNAN, Morshed (RSC) MANNAN, Morshed (RSC)
MARCEDDU, Maria Laura (LAW) MARCEDDU, Maria Laura (LAW)
MCCRUDDEN ILLERT, Kathleen (HEC) MCCRUDDEN ILLERT, Kathleen (HEC)
MCNEIL-WILLSON, Richard (RSC) MCNEIL-WILLSON, Richard (RSC)
MÉSZÁROS, Gábor (LAW) MÉSZÁROS, Gábor (LAW)
MIGLIORATI, Marta (RSC) MIGLIORATI, Marta (RSC)
MOISE, Alexandru Daniel (SPS) MOISE, Alexandru Daniel (SPS)
MUESER, Benjamin (SPS) MUESER, Benjamin (SPS)
MURATORI, Umberto (ECO) MURATORI, Umberto (ECO)
NIESSEN, Christoph (SPS) NIESSEN, Christoph (SPS)
ONODA, Takuya (SPS) ONODA, Takuya (SPS)
OSTROWSKI, Marius (RSC) OSTROWSKI, Marius (RSC)
PAVŠIČ, Zala (HEC) PAVŠIČ, Zala (HEC)
PETTI, Alessandro (LAW) PETTI, Alessandro (LAW)
PIANTA, Silvia (RSC) PIANTA, Silvia (RSC)
PLOSZKA, Adam (LAW) PLOSZKA, Adam (LAW)
PRASAD, Shubha (SPS) PRASAD, Shubha (SPS)
QUERIN, Federica (SPS) QUERIN, Federica (SPS)
RAMZY, Farah (RSC) RAMZY, Farah (RSC)
REUTTER, Mirjam (ECO) REUTTER, Mirjam (ECO)
SEMPLICI, Greta (RSC) SEMPLICI, Greta (RSC)
SONG, Hyang-Gi (SPS) SONG, Hyang-Gi (SPS)
STEFINI, Tommaso (HEC) STEFINI, Tommaso (HEC)
STEVENS, Friso Michiel Sijbrand (RSC) STEVENS, Friso Michiel Sijbrand (RSC)
TÈNE, Eva (ECO) TÈNE, Eva (ECO)
VAGNI, Giacomo (SPS) VAGNI, Giacomo (SPS)
VALAITIS, Vytautas (ECO) VALAITIS, Vytautas (ECO)
VETTESE, Troy (RSC) VETTESE, Troy (RSC)
VICENT FANCONI, Andrés María (HEC) VICENT FANCONI, Andrés María (HEC)
VOJINOVIC, Milos (HEC) VOJINOVIC, Milos (HEC)
WARREN, Jared (HEC) WARREN, Jared (HEC)
ILDIRIM, Duygu (HEC) YILDIRIM, Duygu (HEC)
ZANASI, Francesca (SPS) ZANASI, Francesca (SPS)
ZHENG, Weiwei (ECO) ZHENG, Weiwei (ECO)

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ADÉLIE CHEVÉESyria: Hope and Poetry at BBC podcast

Two years of staying inside her own home in Homs, whilst 60 per cent of her neighbourhood was turned into rubble, hasn't deterred architect Marwa al-Sabouni. She talks to Anne McElvoy about rebuilding and hope. Adélie Chevée researches the use of media by the Syrian opposition, and Kareem James Abu-Zeid is an Egyptian-American translator, editor, and writer who spent 16 years working on a version of ‘Songs of Mihyar the Damascene’ by Adonis, a poem that has been compared to TS Eliot's ‘The Wasteland’.

Marwa al-Sabouni published The Battle for Home: The Vision of a Young Architect in Syria in 2016 and you can hear her talking to Free Thinking about Syrian Buildings.

Since then she has recorded a TED talk, ‘How Syria's architecture laid the foundation for a brutal war’, advised the World Economic Forum, written for the Wall Street Journal and is now publishing Building for Hope: Towards and Architecture of Belonging.

Adonis was born into a farming family who couldn't afford the cost of a formal education but after reciting a poem to the president of Syria visiting his region, the teenager was supported by the president and enrolled in a French high school. He is now a leading Arabic poet based in Paris, who uses free verse, and a variety of forms to explore themes of migration and exile. His book Songs of Mihyar the Damascene, with translations by Kareem James Abu-Zeid and Ivan Neubanks is a 200-page collection which has taken Kareem 16 years of work to bring to print.

Adélie Chevée is a political scientist and a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute. She has studied the use of media by the Syrian opposition and is now looking at the impact of fake news in Middle Eastern societies.

You can find a playlist called ‘Belonging, Home, Borders and National Identity’ on the Free Thinking website, which includes conversations about Pakistan, Turkey, Hong Kong, France, India, Sweden and more

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

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CRISTINA LAFUENTE MARTINEZThe Labour Market In A Time Of Crisis

At Over to Europe - A podcast of the CIVICA community

In this episode we explore how the economy behaves in difficult times, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis. We also discuss how the current crisis affects the labour market entry of young people.

With: Thomas Le Barbanchon, Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Bocconi University & Anna von Behr, Manager Career Development at the Hertie School.

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Martina FerracaneMartina has participated in different events:

She has launched an initiative called “Sicilian Valley”, a network on social innovators in Sicily.

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MW Fellows Testimonials

Giovanni AntonelliMWP is surely a turning point in the career of an early stage researcher. I had the opportunity to join a large and diverse group of researchers, an exclusive mentorship and several tailor made activities aimed at preparing for the job market. The large number of tailor made activities, both practical and theoretical, will surely boost my skills' toolkit. The international and inter/trans-disciplinary environment will surely have a deep impact.

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Grace BallorThe Max Weber Programme provided the ideal institutional environment to transition from a doctoral programme to a tenure-track professorship. In addition to the EUI's support of Fellows' research through funding, mentorship, and publication assistance, the Programme offers Fellows transformational teaching and professionalization opportunities, along with the chance to collaborate with a diverse group of peers. For scholars working on European topics in particular, there is no better place than the EUI's MWP to launch an academic career.

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Maria Vittoria Comacchi The Max Weber Programme is a unique postdoctoral experience for early-career researchers.

The programme fully prepares young scholars for academic life by providing excellent training and total support in many different areas. During the year, I have learned how to transform my dissertation into a book, write a good article, and the best educational strategies to become a qualified and inspired teacher.

Besides the professional preparation, the programme has undoubtedly contributed to my intellectual growth. Workshops, book roundtables, writing groups, and inspiring formal and informal conversations with Fellows and faculty working in different fields have broadened my research perspectives and interests. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions, there is no doubt that the Max Weber Programme and the EUI have continued to offer us plenty of intellectually enriching opportunities in complete safety during the year.

Thanks to the Max Weber Programme, I have become part of the EUI incredibly enthusiastic and vibrant community and realised that cooperation, receptiveness, and multidisciplinarity are the key values I need to cultivate to become a well-rounded scholar.

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James LeeThe Fellowship experience in the Max Weber Programme was an invaluable part of my academic and professional development. The Max Weber lectures and the colloquia organized by the Europe in the World (EITW) group were particular highlights of the experience. As a U.S.-trained scholar specializing in the international relations of East Asia, I had the opportunity to study Europe as my second region and to become part of the European academic community. I was also able to gain research proficiency in French and Italian in just one year, which I'm now using for chapters in my book project on France and Italy during the Cold War. And although it has now been almost two years since I returned to the United States, I'm still in regular contact with my former colleagues in the Max Weber Programme to discuss research and professional development.

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Tommaso MilaniOverall, there is little doubt that the 2020-21 academic year has been a challenging one for many scholars, including myself. In ordinary circumstances, a historian embarking on a new project would arrange multiple trips to archives in order to locate and consult sources – yet the Covid-19 pandemic foiled my plans. Luckily, thanks to the Historical Archives of the European Union and to the EUI library, I have been able to make progress with my research despite the ongoing restrictions. Meanwhile, I had fruitful exchanges with my colleagues, I co-taught a highly inspiring doctoral seminar, I attended engaging online events, and I felt part of the EUI academic community during an otherwise difficult time. Je ne regrette rien!

Dedicated modules have been very helpful in honing my presentation skills, especially in light of recent developments in academia. Moving courses online has forced us all to revisit our approach to public speaking while looking for ways to increase its effectiveness. I am glad that the EUI has encouraged us to explore, adapt to, and make the most out of the virtual environment, an area in which I think I have learned a lot. More generally, I greatly appreciate the constant support I have been receiving from the ACS team. Their extensive experience can make a real difference in tackling specific issues as well as in improving each Fellow’s position in the job market.

Having been employed by various universities since 2017, I felt a strong need to think long-term and focus on my own research agenda, without the pressures and constraints that teaching jobs always carry with them. The programme provided me with time, resources, training, and much intellectual stimulation to do that. Moreover, because of its multidisciplinary character and breadth of expertise, I believe the programme is wonderfully equipped to make every Fellow discover, or rediscover, a fundamental truth: curiosity and passion drive us. At the EUI, one understands the importance of producing work that is not just publishable but genuinely significant – and that is possible because its members are left free to investigate the questions they truly care about.

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Tamara PopicIn spite of the Covid-19 pandemic and restricted possibilities for academic exchanges, being a Max Weber Fellow in 2020 has helped me to stay grounded in my research and pursuit of my academic goals. It allowed me to fully dedicate myself to a demanding task, the writing of my first academic monograph, which would had been a much more difficult task without this Fellowship and the Max Weber Programme's academic support.

The wide offer of academic practice activities, which ranged from those focused on the development of 'short-term skills' needed for academic success, such as skills for a successful job interview, to those with more long-term effect, such as skills and practice in academic teaching, the Max Weber Fellowship has helped me in my efforts to grow into a well-rounded academic.

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Past Events

Joint with EUI ‘Democracy in the 21st century’ Interdisciplinary Research Cluster
19 May 2021, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio & Online, Zoom

Democracy: A Fragile Way of Life

Introduction and Chair:
Lucy Riall (EUI, HEC Professor)

Panellists:

Till van Rahden (University of Montreal)
Benno Gammerl (EUI, HEC Professor)
Elias Buchetmann (EUI, HEC PhD Graduate)
Carolin Lerch (EUI, LAW PhD Researcher)
Tommaso Milani (EUI, Max Weber Fellow)

Watch the book roundtable online.


 

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Joint with the SPS Department’s Political Economy Working Group
29 April 2021, 17:00-18:30
Online, Zoom

The Reinvention of Development Banking in the European Union

Moderator:
Donato Di Carlo (EUI, Max Weber Fellow)

Panellists:

Daniel Mertens (University of Osnabrück, Professor)
Matthias Thiemann (Sciences Po, Associate Professor)
Vera Scepanovic (University of Leiden, Lecturer)
Nils Oellerich (EUI, SPS PhD Researcher)

Watch the book roundtable online.


 

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On 19 May 2021, professor Till van Rahden (University of Montreal) had a conversation with two Max Weber Fellows, Benjamin Mueser and Tommaso Milani, in Villa Paola’s Seminar Room.

The interview was recorded and it is published online.


 

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15th Max Weber Fellows’ June Conference

16-18 June 2021, Badia Fiesolana and Online

Organizing Committee (MW Fellows): Aline Bertolin, Wanshu Cong, Guadalupe Correa Lopera, Joy Neumeyer, Marius Ostrowski, Shubha Prasad.

Abstract:
The shock and grief of 2020 have prompted a search for healing and renewal. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated inequalities, upended common understandings of time and space, raised doubts about the knowledge of experts, and mobilised reactions from opposite ends of the political spectrum. At the same time, it has highlighted the world’s interdependence, inspired collective approaches to shared problems, and aroused creativity and resilience among individuals and societies. Fear and fatigue are coupled with hope for change. The 15th Max Weber Conference welcomes reflections on political, economic, legal, and historical questions that offer insight into varying forms of recovery and regeneration.
Programme (pdf) 

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Envisioning the Global South(s)February-June 2021
Online (Zoom)

Organizers:
Roberta Biasillo (MWF RSC), Matteo Capasso (MWF RSC), Wanshu Cong (MWF LAW), Maria Dyveke Styve (MWF HEC), Lillian Frost (MWF RSC), Maria do Mar Gago (MWF HEC)

  • Opening Session
    10 February (15:00-17:00)
  • Interview Series
    25 February (16:00-17:30)
    25 March (15:00-16:30)
    15 April (16:00-17:30)
    28 April (18:00-19:00)
    14 May (17:00-18:00)
    9 June (15:00-16:30)
  • Final Roundtable
    10 June (15:00-17:00)

Abstract:
This multidisciplinary workshop aims at exploring strategies, processes and narratives through which Western gazes have contributed to the creation and making of the Global South.

The workshop critically examines the ways in which knowledge is produced on Asian, African, Middle East and Latin American regions. It does so to look at the social, environmental, political, legal premises and consequences of those views.

The contributors reflect on many of the questionable policies and practices born of these imaginaries and related histories that have been utilized in the regions since the colonial period. They further reveal how power, in the form of development programmes, notions of nationalism, expert knowledge, landscape transformation and human right discourses, for instance, relates to Western and European-originated knowledge production systems.

Program (pdf)

Some sessions of this workshop were recorded and are now available to watch online.

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Pricing Technologies

 25-26 March 2021
Online (Zoom)

Organizers:
Arthur Dolgopolov (MWF ECO), Agnieszka Jablonowska (MWF LAW), Francesco Ducci (MWF LAW), Giacomo Tagiuri (MWF LAW)

Abstract:
PriTech is a two-day online research workshop that emphasizes technological developments in the way prices are calculated, recorded, and communicated, and the way online services are monetized, as well as the social and economic consequences of such developments that cause concerns from various disciplinary and policy perspectives. It is an interdisciplinary event that is meant to bring together economists, lawyers, sociologists, historians, and industry practitioners. Find more information at this link.

Program (pdf)

Some sessions of this workshop were recorded and are available online.

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Humanitarian Intervention

April-May 2021
Online (Zoom)

Organizers:
Josef Ostransky (MWF LAW), Orfeas Chasapis Tassinis (MWF LAW), Andrés Vicent (MWF HEC) 

  • Session 1: 20 April 2021
  • Session 2: 4 May 2021
  • Session 3: 12 May 2021

Abstract:
What is the ideological background behind the birth of humanitarian interventions? What legal theories have been employed to support it? And how have various political and economic interests interacted with and drawn upon the normatively appealing concepts of humanitarianism? Conversely, how has the notion of humanitarianism been used in resistance to powerful actors?

The aim of the workshop is to explore humanitarian intervention as a key phenomenon in the birth and development of internationalism from diverse disciplinary perspectives. The workshop critically examined the historical, political, and legal implications of humanitarian interventions from the past to the present.

The workshop is organized as a series of three discussions with renowned speakers who have worked on the topic of humanitarian intervention from different angles with the co-conveners acting as discussants. 

Program (pdf)

Some sessions of this workshop were video-recorded and are now available online.

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Causes and Consequences of Inequality13 May 2021
Online (Zoom)

Organizers:
Weverthon Barbosa Machado (MWF SPS), Balaraju Battu (MWF SPS), Aruni Mitra (MWF ECO), Federica Querin (MWF SPS)

Abstract:
The aim of the workshop is to examine the sources of inequality and policies to tackle it by bringing together academics from different areas of social sciences. The workshop critically examined data, theory, and policy implications. It focused on areas including but not limited to economic redistributive policies with related issues of justice like targeting equality in outcomes versus equality in opportunities, identity-based discrimination like gender and racial inequality in the labour market, intra-household inequality like bargaining power differences between the two spouses, intergenerational transfers, and unequal access to public goods like health and education.

Program (pdf)

The two keynote sessions were video-recorded and are now available to be watched here.

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Turning the TideMay-June 2021
Online, Zoom

Organizers:
Aline Bertolin (MWF LAW), Katarzyna Doniec (MWF SPS), Alexandru Moise (MWF SPS), Takuya Onoda (MWF SPS), Tamara Popic (MWF SPS), Mirjam Reutter (MWF ECO)

Abstract:
Health and healthcare issues have never been as salient as in the context of the present COVID-19 pandemic. This lecture series addresses the following questions: What are the main challenges facing population health and healthcare policies in the context of the present pandemic in Europe and beyond? How have countries dealt with these challenges? And what are the future prospects of health and healthcare in this pandemic-ridden world?

The aim of this lecture series is to explore these questions from diverse disciplinary perspectives. The lectures will cover topics of health inequalities, vaccinations, mental health, the EU's health future and healthy ageing.

The event is organized as a series of lectures with renowned speakers who have worked on the topic of health and healthcare from different angles, with the Max Weber Fellows acting as moderators.

Program (pdf)

All lectures were video-recorded and are now available to be watched here.

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Mobilities in the Early Modern and Contemporary Mediterranean27-28 May 2021
Refectory, Badia and Online (Zoom)

Organizers: Roberta Biasillo (MWF RSC), Maria Vittoria Comacchi (MWF HEC), Lavinia Maddaluno (MWF HEC)

Abstract:
People move. And so do objects and knowledge. The 1990s mobility turn in the social sciences and recent migration crisis have increasingly brought to the fore that displacement, travel, and migration are part and parcel of any human society, shaping their social, geographical, environmental settings, as well as processes of knowledge production, in significant and multifarious ways. Bringing together scholars working on early modern and modern times, presentations addressed multiple mobility patterns – from human migrations, to the circulation of ideas and knowledge, from exchanges of practices to transfers of goods – in the expanded space of the Mediterranean. This two-day workshop aimed to discuss the Mediterranean area as a space of multilevel connectivity between interrelated regions, like North and Atlantic Africa, Western Asia and Europe; and to reframe the Mediterranean space from the perspectives of the environmental humanities, Mediterranean and African studies, intellectual history, and the history of science. 

On the first day, four thematic panels explored the Mediterranean space as a crossroads between Africa and Europe, different European countries, East and West. On the second day, two roundtables hosted presentations on ongoing research carried out by early career scholars.

Program (pdf)

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Technocracy in Time and Space31 May 2021
Refectory (Badia) and Zoom

Organizers:
Adélie Chevée (MWF RSC), Wanshu Cong (MWF LAW), Paul Dermine (MWF LAW), Sebastian Diessner (MWF RSC), Tommaso Milani (MWF HEC), Takuya Onoda (MWF SPS), Giacomo Tagiuri (MWF LAW)

Abstract:
In a modern, complex society, knowledge and expertise are said to serve as an essential tool to tackle varieties of societal problems. The reliance on experts and expertise for governing – often dubbed ‘technocracy’ –, however, is alleged to weaken ties between people and the government, thereby undermining the functioning of democratic politics.

Coming from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, the workshop on Technocracy in Time and Space was organized to revisit this alleged tension between technocracy and democracy, broadly conceived, in different historical and geographical settings. Key research questions explored throughout the workshop included: To what extent is technocracy compatible with democracy? Is technocracy displacing democracy across societies? To what extent does democracy rely on technocratic means to operate? Paying renewed attention to technocracy and technocratic forms of governance also invites parallel discussions about populism and ‘technopopulism’ as an alternative form of government. Thus, an inquiry into technocracy can highlight the conditions for, and the viability of, future democracy.

Program (pdf)

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Radical Democracy and Populism3 June 2021
Sala Europa (Vila Schifanoia) and Zoom

Organizers:
Adélie Chevée (MWF RSC), Guadalupe Correa Lopera (MWF ECO), Takumi Shibaike (MWF SPS), Josef Ostransky (MWF LAW) 

Abstract:
In her recent book For a Left Populism (2018), the political theorist Chantal Mouffe argued that our contemporary ‘populist moment’ represented an opportunity for democratic reinvigoration through the formation of a ‘left populism’ in the name of radical democracy. Indeed, in the last ten years, several political parties on the left of the political spectrum but also social movements and organizations across the globe have adopted ideas and practices loosely inspired by populist ideologies, such as the absolute refusal of representatives, or calls for a wider use of the referendum.

In this workshop, we discussed the relationship between populism (understood as a broad political ideology opposing the people versus a corrupt elite) and radical democracy, by exploring various empirical cases of elites, social movements, organizations and institutions which used various forms of democratic experimentation and discourse. Rather than focusing on academic ‘niche’ literature debates, this workshop included scholars from different disciplinary and empirical backgrounds; it aimed at fostering a general conversation/reflection on the populist moment and its realization in today’s urgent political phenomena.

We started with a roundtable on Mouffe’s work and proceeded with presentations of ongoing research on empirical cases. We were particularly interested in discussing how ideas of populism and radical democracy appear differently in politics, history, economics, and law. Among other questions, we asked ourselves: What are the similarities and differences between populism and radical democracy? Can populism and radical democracy cohabit, or are they fundamentally opposed? What are the current theories of populism explaining projects of radical democracy? When and how may populist ideology drive demands for radical democracy? What are the (real and hypothetical) consequences of these demands?

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  • PHILLIP AYOUB (SPS 2013-2014): Phillip is now an associate editor of the European Journal of Politics and Gender.
  • SEBASTIAN DIESSNER (RSC 2019-2021): Sebastian will be an assistant professor at Leiden University from the next academic year onwards.
  • DAVID DO PAÇO (HEC 2013-2015): In July, David will join Columbia University's Department of History and Harriman Institute as an István Deák visiting professor in East Central European Studies.
  • EMILY HANCOX (LAW 2018-2019): Emily has been appointed Lecturer in Law at the University of Bristol.
  • ROBERT LEPENIES (LAW 2013-2015): Robert of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (Leipzig) will lead the governance work package of the H2020 project NEXOGENESIS, which will investigate ways to efficiently streamline policy into the WEF (water energy food) Nexus, including the use of novel reinforcement learning and other artificial intelligence techniques.
  • GIUSEPPE MARTINICO (LAW 2010-2011): Giuseppe has been appointed as a full professor of comparative public law at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa.
  • RAYA MUTTARAK (SPS 2008-2009): Raya has been appointed Director of Population and Just Societies Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria from January 2021.
  • TAMARA POPIC (SPS 2019-2021): Tamara will be Lecturer in Social Policy at Queen Mary University of London from next academic year.
  • LINE RENNWALD (SPS 2016-2018): Since the 1st of May, Line has joined the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences (FORS) as senior researcher in the group "Political Surveys".
  • GEMMA SCALISE (SPS 2017-2019): Since 15 May 2021, Gemma has been assistant professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca.
  • NADIA STEIBER (SPS 2009-2010): Nadia was appointed Professor of Social Stratification and Quantitative Methods at the Department of Sociology of the University of Vienna in October 2020.
  • REBECCA ZAHN (LAW 2010-2011): Rebecca is now a Reader/Associate Professor at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, UK).
  • MARTINA FERRACANE (2020-2022)
    Awards:
    Martina received a CIVICA grant for her project “‘Digital Trade Integration - Dataset & Index’”. For more info.
    The NGO “Teens4Kids”, founded by Martina, received a prize for social innovation from the European Commission. For more info.
    Recognition:
    Asked to join the Advisory Committee of a foundation, just created, called Fondazione EOS-Edison Orizzonte Sociale.
    Invited to join the advisory committee of a foundation working on social projects in Sicily called Fondazione Comunitaria di Trapani e Agrigento.
    Invited to be a scientific advisor of the FabSchool project by the Fondazione Edulife.
  • FABIAN MUSHÖVEL (SPS 2019-2020): Fabian has received a Marie Curie Fellowship to return to the EUI from 2022-2024. He will research the challenges of technological change and how welfare states have adapted to it over the past two decades.
  • RAYA MUTTARAK (SPS 2008-2009): Raya Muttarak was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant 2020 for the project “Population Dynamics under Global Climate Change (POPCLIMA)”.
  • TAKUYA ONODA (SPS 2019-2021): Takuya has been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, hosted by Sciences Po. He will work on the project "POLREG" The Politicised Regulatory State: Rationing Public Service Provision in Advanced Democracies, starting in April 2022.
  • CAITLIN PROCTER (RSC 2019-2020): Caitlin has been awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship at the Centre for Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. The project is on the reintegration of youth affiliated with ISIS in Iraq, and she will be working in partnership with UNICEF and the IOM for the research, doing fieldwork in Mosul and Erbil.
    She also won a grant and was the lead researcher on a study investigating the impact of Covid-19 in refugee communities in Palestine, which culminated in the publication of this report, which was then picked up by Al Jazeera among others.
  • REBECCA ZAHN (LAW 2010-2011): Rebecca was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for her research project, ‘Revealing the importance of ideas: the intellectual history of labour law’. The Fellowship will run from 2022-2024.
  • LINE RENNWALD (SPS 2016-2018): Clara Rennwald was born on 14 August 2020. Her sister Olga is extremely happy! And her parents (Adrian Zimmermann and Line Rennwald) too!

The MWP Newsletter is a platform for current and former Fellows to share their news and short articles about their academic experience. Please send them to mwp@eui.eu