PhD traineeship in the Directorate General Economics

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General Information

Type of contract PhD traineeship

Who can apply? EU nationals eligible for our traineeship programme

Grant The trainee grant is €2,120 per month plus an accommodation allowance (see further information section)

Working time Full time

Place of work Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Closing date 14.02.2021

Your team

You will be part of the Business Cycle Analysis (BCA) Division or the Prices and Costs (PAC) Division in the Directorate General Economics of the European Central Bank (ECB). 

The BCA Division consists of a team of approximately 30 experts and is responsible for analysing and forecasting real macroeconomic developments in the euro area and the largest countries within it. It also conducts sector-specific analyses and economic sentiment surveys of households and non-financial corporations. The Division is currently devoting special attention to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on business cycle dynamics, with a focus on exploring the use of high-frequency indicators for short-term forecasting, disentangling demand and supply forces and the role of policy support, and identifying transitory and permanent effects of the pandemic on decisions by households and firms.

The PAC Division consists of a team of around 20 experts and monitors, analyses and forecasts inflation and its determinants in the euro area and individual countries and sectors within it. This includes assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change on inflation trends. The Division is a major contributor to the ongoing ECB monetary policy strategy review and plays an important role in the Price-setting Microdata Analysis Network (PRISMA), working with large datasets of prices from various sources, including web-scraping. The Division also assesses inflationary pressures from the external environment and from domestic wage and profit trends, as well as the associated prospects, risks and uncertainties.

The ECB is an inclusive employer and we strive to reflect the diversity of the population we serve. We encourage you to apply, irrespective of your gender, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability or other characteristics.

Your role

As a PhD trainee you will:
  • conduct empirical analyses using state-of-the-art economic and econometric models;
  • contribute to the enhancement of analytical, econometric and forecasting tools under the supervision of ECB experts;
  • have the opportunity to submit the resulting papers for publication in the ECB’s Working Paper Series and academic journals.

We are looking for PhD trainees to work on several projects in the two divisions.

In the BCA Division, key projects will focus on the following issues:
  • investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the euro area household sector using the latest generation of macroeconomic models as individual households face uninsurable earnings risk and inequality in income, wealth and consumption (e.g. Heterogeneous Agent New Keynesian models), with a view to better understanding how differences in structural features of households and firms can shape the transmission of macroeconomic shocks and policies, focusing on the effect of this heterogeneity on aggregate demand and supply;
  • analysing firm-level data for medium-sized firms to assess the impact of COVID-19 on investment and the role of policies, possibly including (1) the impact of illiquidity and insolvency on firms’ investment decisions, and (2) the impact of the type and conditions of external financing on investment decisions, also comparing tangible and intangible investment.

In the PAC Division, various projects will focus on the following issues: 
  • developing models and/or tools to analyse and forecast wage and price developments and their drivers, including inflation expectations and profit trends, and analysing granular data on prices, wages and corporate balance sheets to better understand the drivers of inflation in the euro area (including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change).

These positions offer excellent opportunities to build on your skills and track record as an economist by working on state-of-the-art modelling and econometric techniques as well as to contribute to policy work that is of the highest relevance for the economic assessment by the Directorate General Economics. You will be part of a multicultural team that strives for continuous innovation to make a positive impact on the lives of European citizens. 

Qualifications, experience and skills

  • a master’s degree and at least two years of PhD studies in economics, finance, statistics, data science, engineering or a related field;
  • a sound understanding of and theoretical background in macroeconomics and the economic and institutional context in which the ECB fulfils its mandate;
  • excellent knowledge of and a track record in state-of-the-art modelling tools and econometric techniques or data analytics; 
  • programming skills in software such as MATLAB, Stata, Python, R, Julia or GAUSS;
  • a good knowledge of the MS Office package;
  • an advanced (C1) command of English and an intermediate (B1) command of at least one other official language of the EU, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
  • advanced skills in solving heterogeneous agent models and/or non-linear models;
  • advanced skills in handling micro data (e.g. on firms, households and sectors) and analysing them with microeconometric models and methods;
  • experience in working with macro data and using macroeconometric models, such as structural vector autoregressions (VARs), panel VARs, global VARs, Bayesian VARs and non-linear VARs (time-varying parameters, Markov switching), and conducting co-integration analysis;
  • familiarity with methods for working with big data (e.g. machine learning, web-scraping and text mining) and with distributed computing.

You are curious and eager to learn and want to further develop your ability to analyse complex information. You are keen to collaborate with others, pursue team goals and learn from other people’s diverse perspectives. You strive to know and anticipate stakeholder needs and will signal any need for change and propose alternative solutions.

You are motivated to contribute to the ECB’s mission, to serve the citizens of the EU as a member of a public institution and to work with colleagues from all over Europe. You are keen to be part of our team and to use your skills and competencies to achieve the objectives of this position.

Further information

PhD traineeship of between 3 and 12 months in total.

All trainees will be expected to complete their tasks using their own initiative and to work largely autonomously, under the supervision of an expert. Successful candidates will have access to the ECB’s library, as well as to computing and statistical resources.

Application and selection process

Further information on how to join us is available on our website.

The recruitment process for this position will include an online interview via WebEx.