Research projects

Ongoing projects

Sustainability and Distributional Justice (04/2022 – 03/2025, funded by Hans Böckler Foundation): The necessity of transforming our economy into a resource neutral one raises significant economic and social challenges. A key question is how can a high living standard for the many be achieved without compromising ecological sustainability? This question is significant given that in the past economic growth, an increasing pie, was a way to soften distributional conflicts about the value added of our economies and that in addition, it cannot be ruled out that taking ecological boundaries seriously might lead to lower growth altogether. This project is interested in the distributional effects of an ecological transition as well as the ecological effects of policies aimed at achieving ecological sustainability.

Completed projects

A fiscally sustainable public investment initiative in Europe to prevent climate collapse (01/2020 – 04/2021, funded by FEPS, AK and RI): This research project pursues two goals. The first is to assess whether the planned measures laid out in the European Green Deal are sufficient to meet the “well below 1.5 °C target” (see the first project report here). The second goal is to assess the fiscal feasibility of a public investment initiative dedicated to providing the necessary infrastructure and technology upgrading to achieve the Paris targets with greater probability. For this purpose the project will investigate the revenue potential of net wealth taxes in Europe and put them into perspective with other funding options (see the second project report here, the corresponding online appendix, and the corresponding policy brief). Lastly, the project modelled the long term impact of a sustained publicly funded infrastructure initiative on public finances (project report here). A final project report can be found here.

Private Wealth in Austria (01/2020 – 10/2020, funded by AK): The project aims to use the third wave of data from the ECB’s Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) to study the current distribution of household wealth in Europe and its evolution over the past three years. A special focus lies on addressing reliability problems of wealth survey data such as the HFCS in the form of differential nonresponse and nonobservation. The project seeks to develop new statistical methods to address these problems, post data collection. The final project report can be found here.

Wealth concentration, Taxation, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance in Austria (08/2017 – 08/2018, funded by AK): In the first part the issue of how to accurately measure the concentration of wealth from survey data is analysed and Austria is used as an explementary case study. Using the second wave of the European Central Bank’s Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) the project estimates the top tail of the wealth distribution based on a statistical model which assumes the wealth distribution can be described by a power law. The results are then used to estimate the revenues of different wealth taxation proposals (see outputs here and here and here). The second part, is based on the results from the first, but explores methodological refinements of the applied methods. Crucial questions for such a Pareto model for the wealth distribution range from the determination of the cut-off point from which the wealth distribution can be described by a power law to the choice of adequate estimators (see outputs here and here). The third part, deals with the issue of corporate tax avoidance and tax evasion by individuals and how the extent of these activities can be estimated and measured. The goal is to apply recent methods developed for US data to Austrian data and in addition to explore to what extend the data which has become available via various leaks (Panama Papers, Lux-Leaks) can be used to increase the precision of these estimates.