I am an applied economist and data scientist at the Swiss Institute for Empirical Research of the University of St. Gallen. I recently graduated from the Graduate Programme in Economics and Finance (GPEF) of the University of St. Gallen.
My research lies at the intersection of labor and education economics, health economics, and applied causal machine learning, with the aim of thorough policy evaluation and meaningful policy recommendation. In my thesis, I investigate the situation of students from minority groups (such as gifted students or students with special needs) in inclusive educational settings.
In addition to my research in Economics, I am a philosopher and trained Logic-based therapist with the NPCA. I am engaged in working on problems of climate grief and “climate-friendly” virtues. When not coding or writing, you’ll find me running or biking, cooking, baking sourdough bread, or collaborating on the Intergifted project with my wife Jennifer.
While the number of students with identified special needs is increasing in developed countries, there is little empirical evidence on academic and labor market returns to special education. By leveraging unique insights into the special education placement process through written individual psychological records, I present results from the first ever study to examine short- and long-term returns to special education programs with causal machine learning and computational text analysis methods. I find that special education programs in inclusive settings have positive returns on academic performance in math and language as well as on employment and wages. Moreover, I uncover a positive effect of inclusive special education programs in comparison to segregated programs, and I find that students with emotional or behavioral problems and nonnative students benefit more from segregation than the other students. Finally, I deliver optimal placement rules that increase overall returns for students with special needs and lower special education costs. These placement rules would reallocate most students with special needs from segregation to inclusion.