Urbanisation and gentrification are leading to rapidly increasing property prices and changing population structures in German and European cities. While inequality in neighbourhoods has been decreasing, disparities between individual districts have been growing. Why are such marked shifts occurring and which policies can mitigate these inequalities? Professor Sebastian Siegloch, head of the Research Department “Social Policy and Redistribution” at ZEW Mannheim, received a prestigious funding grant from the European Research Council (ERC) as part of the European Union's research programme “Horizon 2020”, amounting to a total of 1.5 million euros, which will be paid over five years to investigate these questions. “Rising real estate prices is a highly relevant issue for many people. It influences their place of residence, which is one of the most important choices in one’s life. We have to achieve a better understanding of how real estate markets work and how public policies such as property taxation can influence the market,” Siegloch explains.

Rising property prices and changing population structures reinforce inequality.
Professor Dr. Sebastian Siegloch is receiving prestigious funding from the European Research Council to research inequality in real estate markets.

ZEW economist Sebastian Siegloch, who is also a professor at the University of Mannheim, distinguished himself from strong competitors in his application for the ERC Starting Grant. “This ERC grant is a huge success for Sebastian Siegloch, his team, and the entire ZEW Mannheim. Through its decision, the European Research Council confirms our approach to further develop research on topics such as urbanisation,” ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach comments.

Housing policy in the spotlight

In this research project, Siegloch investigates how different housing policy instruments affect local housing markets and influence regional inequality. The analysis of the effects of different instruments provides a comprehensive overview of available policy options. It combines state-of-the-art theoretical models and carefully conducted empirical analysis in order to derive the efficiency costs and distributional effects of different policy measures. These results provide guidance for policymakers when addressing the challenges induced by the current housing crisis. “The metropolitan region Rhine-Neckar will also be affected by these changes in the real estate market – I am excited to build a new international research group here in Mannheim and to get to the bottom of these pressing issues”, adds Siegloch.


The European Research Council (ERC) is an institution established by the European Commission to fund basic research. The ERC Starting Grants are part of the EU's research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, and support promising young scientists in their research projects and the establishment of research groups. With the Starting Grants, ERC offers excellent young scientists in Europe the opportunity to carry out basic research and expand their own research team. The ERC supports ground-breaking and visionary research that breaks down the barriers between basic and applied research, between traditional disciplines and between research and technology.





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