In the spring semester of 2020, ZEW once again offered five summer courses for young researchers, which took place entirely online this year. Over 80 young researchers from ZEW and the University of Mannheim participated in the courses dedicated to current economic issues. The ZEW Summer Courses, financially supported by the state of Baden-Württemberg, are part of a close cooperation with the University of Mannheim as part of the PhD track of the Center for Doctoral Studies in Economics (CDSE).

The ZEW Summer Courses are elective block courses aimed at supporting doctoral students with their thesis. As a special feature, these lectures, which are delivered by renowned professors from different universities, are held in July and August during the period between terms in addition to the comprehensive range of courses offered as part of the CDSE PhD track at the University of Mannheim.

Online Courses as an Answer to the COVID-19 Pandemic

ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach comments on the successful outcome of the summer courses: “This year, the ZEW Summer Courses were organised as fully virtual events due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This way, we were able to ensure that our international lecturers could teach their courses, allowing us to provide a high-quality programme to the doctoral students. I would like to extend my thanks to the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts for its support and for making these courses offered by ZEW in cooperation with the PhD track of the Center for Doctoral Studies in Economics at the University of Mannheim possible.”

Lectures Covered a Broad Range of Economic Issues

This year, ZEW had the privilege to welcome five internationally renowned external professors as lecturers of the ZEW Summer Courses. The first lecture was held by Professor Nicolai Kuminoff from Arizona State University, who offered a course on the revealed preferences of market participants. The course covered both the theoretical foundations as well as concrete applications in the areas of real estate, the labour market, the health sector and the environment.  In addition, Professor Nicolas Schutz from the University of Mannheim taught a course on applied theory in the field of industrial economics. Professor Michael Lechner from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland offered a course on causal machine learning, a highly relevant topic in the field of artificial intelligence. During his lecture, he discussed the application of the methods of machine learning in scientific research. Finally, Professor David A. Jaeger from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland offered two courses, entitled “Identification Strategies” and “The Economics of Migration”. In the first course, he gave insights into robust identification methods that can be used to establish causal relationships in non-experimental data, which is highly relevant for scientists who conduct empirical research. Given its political relevance, the last course on migration research was of particular interest to the doctoral students.

After the lectures, the students had the opportunity to engage in individual and informal discussion in virtual meetings. Both the summer classes in general, and the online format in particular, were very well received by the lecturers as well as the participants. Nevertheless, the ZEW Summer Courses are scheduled to take place as face-to-face lectures in summer 2021.