PhD Traineeships 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 06.03.2022

Your team

You will be part of the Business Cycle Analysis (BCA) Division or the Supply Side, Labour and Surveillance (SSL) 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 in the largest countries within it. It also conducts sector-specific analyses and economic sentiment surveys of households and non-financial corporations. A current focus of the Division is on the transition of the business cycle out of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. This includes the development of advanced analytics (e.g. big data, machine learning) for short-term forecasting, and disentangling the role of demand and supply forces. The analytical agenda also includes the analysis of financial factors and policy support, the exploration of possible permanent effects on the behaviour of households and firms, and the heterogeneity of agents.

The SSL Division consists of a team of around 30 experts and is responsible for the analysis of the euro area labour market and structural long-term trend drivers of economic growth, including productivity, and the cross-country analysis of macroeconomic vulnerabilities. The Division also looks at economic issues relating to EU governance, with a focus on the implementation and economic impact of NextGenerationEU and on the deepening of Economic and Monetary Union. Recent work has focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market and its possible scarring effects, the role of structural changes in the euro area economy (e.g. digitalisation, demographics) and the impact of government policies in support of the economy, including potential side-effects. The analytical agenda includes the analysis of labour market heterogeneity and its impact on monetary policy, the use of high-frequency labour market data and the analysis of the role of firm and sectoral heterogeneity in explaining developments in productivity and digitalisation, all with a view to drawing macro-relevant policy conclusions.

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 age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation 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 several PhD trainees, who will each work on one of the following projects: 

A. developing heterogeneous agent New Keynesian (HANK) models to investigate the impact of monetary policy on households’ spending decisions and on their income and wealth distributions as well as labour market heterogeneity and its impact on the transmission mechanism of monetary policy;
B. developing empirical measures of household income and wealth inequality, as well as labour market and income risk, using micro data that account for individual characteristics;
C. analysing the drivers of business investment using firm-level and/or aggregate data, distinguishing between tangible and intangible investment, including the underlying financial factors and firms’ balance sheet conditions;
D. enhancing models for nowcasting and short-term forecasting of economic activity and labour market variables, incorporating additional features into the toolbox (high-frequency indicators, sectoral indicators, textual analysis, non-linearities);
E. assessing the drivers of the business cycle through structural time series models, focusing on several topical issues, such as supply-side bottlenecks and the impact of policies.

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. They will also have access to most ECB-organised conferences and internal seminars.

These positions offer excellent opportunities to build on your skills by working on state-of-the-art modelling and econometric techniques as well as to contribute to policy work of the highest relevance for the economic assessments of the Directorate General. 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 one or more software packages, such as MATLAB, Stata, Python, R, or Julia;
  • a good knowledge of the MS Office packagean 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.
  • experience in solving heterogeneous agent models; 
  • experience in handling micro data and microeconometric models and methods; 
  • experience in working with macro data and macroeconometric methods and models; 
  • experience in handling big data and advanced analytics methods (e.g. machine learning, web-scraping and text mining).

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.

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. 

If you are not selected for this position but are still considered suitable, you will be placed on a reserve list for 12 months from the closing date for applications, from which you might be considered for similar positions within the ECB.