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The world has been recently shaken by major crises including Covid-19 pandemics and the Russia-Ukraine war. The policy making, however, is also challenged by the path-breaking global regime changes such as climate change, mass migrations, digital and technology transformation or soaring public debt. Whether anticipated or not, these challenges require reliable estimates on the prospective effects of these events/processes or on the consequences of planned policy interventions. The research in causal modelling has made rapid progress. The context dependence of causal methods, however, calls for more applied research that employs, integrates and possibly augments the existing tools, while comparatively mapping the strengths and weaknesses and suggesting new insights on the applications of these methods in particular settings.

Research field: Economics and finance
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Kadri Männasoo
Availability: This position is available.
Offered by: School of Business and Governance
Department of Economics and Finance
Application deadline:Applications are accepted between June 01, 2022 00:00 and June 30, 2022 23:59 (Europe/Zurich)


Increasing availability of internationally comparable statistics, including microdata, enables to learn from the natural experiments or quasi-experimental settings or from regime changing contexts that emerge as a result of externally imposed natural or manmade interventions or processes and have an effect both on micro and macro level. Against the background of the progress in development of quantitative evaluation methodology and an impressive number of proposed methods and approaches, there is a broad understanding that the success of the applications of these empirical tools is strongly context dependent. 

The PhD research on the given topic is expected to contribute into the body of applied research in quasi-experimental or regime changing settings both supplying novel and high quality research results for the research community as well as making impact to the society while applying research in policy and society relevant contexts for actual and tangible results in building knowledge and awareness on the effectiveness and reliability of outcomes for policy making. As another valuable contribution the PhD research process is expected to generate analytic data for cross-usage and interoperability by different applications that can serve multiple research purposes on the topics relevant for the current line of research or related lines of research within the research group.

Ideally, the well-motivated candidate has a strong grasp of economic theory and policy and is familiar with the main econometric estimators and can apply them using contemporary software for statistical and econometric analysis such as STATA, R, MATLAB or others, and has a strong drive to become familiar with the cutting-edge research on causal evaluation. Based on this brief description of the PhD research topic the candidate is expected to write an extended research proposal (3-5 pages) that builds further and elaborates the above sketched ideas and highlights the main focuses of the candidate within this broadly defined line of research.


Applicants should fulfil the following requirements:

  • a master’s degree preferably in economics, candidates with a master’s degree in mathematics, data science or statistics are also strongly encouraged to apply
  • strong motivation and a clear interest in the topic of the position
  • excellent command of English
  • strong analytical and writing skills
  • capacity to work both as an independent researcher and as part of an international research team
  • capacity to communicate research results both to academic or expert community and to non-expert community
  • capacity and willingness to contribute in organizational tasks within and beyond the research team


The following experience is beneficial:

  • Experience and working knowledge in conducting statistical or econometric research in STATA, R, MATLAB or in other contemporary analytic software
  • Programming and SQL skills
  • Teaching experience

The candidate should submit a research plan for the topic that builds further and elaborates the above sketched ideas and highlights the main focuses of the candidate within this broadly defined line of research.  


We offer:

  • 4-year PhD position in a strong team of researchers with international publication record and experience in leading and participating in pan-European research consortia
  • Dynamic and collaborative research environment, regular research discussions in bi-weekly research seminars
  • Opportunities to be involved in ongoing research projects and in new initiatives and to be part of evolving collaborative research network


About the department

Department of Economics and Finance (DEF) is a modern academic unit engaged in research with a clear applied and policy-oriented perspective and with emphasis on rigorous empirical analysis. Department conducts teaching of a wide spectrum of Bachelor’s and Master’s courses in economics, finance, mathematical, statistical and econometric methods. DEF research is cross-disciplinary and focuses on linkages between different sectors of a modern market economy, in particular with emphasis on economic change or development and how policies can devise means to attain high and sustainable growth, efficient use of natural and human resources, economic and financial stability, and social cohesion.

DEF is leading and participating in international Horizon 2020 and EEA Grant projects and is carrying out research projects funded by the Estonian public sector. DEF organizes annual international conference and it has an active research network among others in collaboration with University of Helsinki, Aalto and Tel Aviv University.


Additional information

For further information, please contact Prof Kadri Männasoo kadri.mannasoo@taltech.ee  or visit