PhD Researcher in Labour Economics

Updated: 12 days ago
Job Type: Permanent

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The KOF Swiss Economic Institute at the ETH Zurich is the leading institute for applied research in economics in Switzerland.

The labour market division at KOF Swiss Economic Institute is a research division that monitors, analyses, and evaluates the effects of policies, institutions and economic forces on jobs, the workforce, and wages, with the aim of establishing quantitative evidence relevant for policy makers and society at large. Core competencies include the analysis of firms' demand for workers, wage setting and wage inequality, discrimination, and immigration. The team uses innovative large datasets and applies rigorous empirical methods to estimate causal effects.

The successful candidate(s) will be part of the PhD programme of the Department of Management, Technology, and Economics of ETH Zurich, and will be a member of the labour market division at KOF. In addition, the candidate will work closely with Prof. Dr. Dina Pomeranz at the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich and will be able to take classes and attend team meetings in both departments. The department of economics at the University of Zurich one of the highest ranked departments in Europe and provides a vibrant and highly international research environment.

Job description

The successful candidate(s) will conduct academic research within the project “Firms, Workers, and Collective Bargaining in Switzerland” funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The project is jointly led by Prof. Dr. Dina Pomeranz (University of Zurich) and Dr. Michael Siegenthaler (KOF). Using large-scale linked register and survey data and self-collected data on collective bargaining agreements in Switzerland, the primary research goals of this project are the following:

  • What are the effects of minimum wages set in collective bargaining agreements on workers’ wages, employment, and job mobility? Are there wage spillovers to uncovered firms? What are the effects of collective bargaining on wage inequality overall?
  • What is the effect of collective bargaining agreements on firms’ profitability, productivity, and prices. Does it affect their flexibility in response to large shocks?
  • Do firms comply with the wage regulations in collective bargaining agreements? What is the effect of controlling wage and working conditions on the enforcement of collective bargaining agreements?


As the ideal candidate for this position, you

  • are excited about research that aims to solve real-world problems. You finished your degree with excellent grades. You are motivated to conduct high-quality research. You care about having a positive impact with your research
  • are excellent at quantitative reasoning. You understand what data can and cannot tell, can communicate that to others, and know when to apply which method. You have a rigorous statistics training in causal inference, and a strong command of Stata and/or R
  • have, at the time of appointment, completed a Master’s degree in Economics, Political Science, Data Science, or a related field. You have a strong interest in labour market topics, in particular regarding the effects of collective bargaining and unions in the labour market
  • have excellent verbal, written, and visual communication skills. You like to collaborate with others and have a compelling writing style in English. Proficiency in one or several languages spoken in Switzerland (French, Italian, and German) is an important asset. 



We offer

ETH Zurich offers internationally competitive working conditions. The optimal starting date for this position is August - October 2024 and the duration is initially 18 months with the prospect of a further extension up to a total of six years, depending on age and qualification. 

We offer the opportunity to pursue a high-quality PhD at renowned institutions in a dynamic and collaborative research environment. The position also offers the possibility for an extended research stay at a top university abroad. ETH Zurich has internationally competitive working conditions. The gross salary will be the standard salary rate for PhD students at ETH Zurich.

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Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application until July 31, 2024, with the following documents:

  • Cover letter that includes a short explanation why you are interested in doing a PhD in economics and working on labour markets and collective bargaining
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Writing samples in German or English (e.g., Master thesis)
  • Complete academic record with undergraduate and graduate courses and grades
  • Copies of certificates
  • Contact information for 2-3 potential letter writers

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. 

Further information about the Institutes KOF Swiss Economic Institute and Dina Pomeranz’s research can be found on our websites and . Questions regarding the position should be directed to KOF HR Services [email protected]  (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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