Stephanos Vlachos

Assistant Professor,
Department of Economics,
University of Vienna


About me

I’m an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Vienna, Austria. My primary research interest is in the political economy of radical movements. 

I have investigated both the demand- and supply-side of electoral politics by looking at the origins of voter preferences, how voter beliefs are formed, and how politicians can use campaign strategies to persuade the electorate.

I mainly study these questions empirically using historical data.
I am of the view that sufficient knowledge of historical events can help identify quasi-natural experiments that can be exploited to answer a broad range of questions that are policy relevant nowadays.

Research fields 

Political Economy, Public Economics, Economic History

In this paper, we study the link between self-interest and morality by leveraging a historical context with extremely high stakes: the introduction of "Economic Aryanization" in the city of Bordeaux, France, during World War II. This policy aimed to “permanently remove the Jewish influence in the economy” through the expropriation of Jewish firms. Regional authorities had significant autonomy in implementing the policy, which left substantial scope for competing firms to influence the procedure. We combine information on the universe of expropriated Jewish firms in the city of Bordeaux with the 1939 Yellow Pages to reconstruct the market structure of sectors in which Jewish firms operated. Our baseline estimation indicates that, conditional on a wide array of covariates, the risk of expropriation for a Jewish firm with a gentile competitor in its street is 1.7 times greater than for a competing Jewish firm with no gentile competitor close by. The reduced-form results are confirmed by estimating a structural model in which distance between gentile and Jewish competitors is one of the drivers of denunciation. The effect is not present when looking at Jewish competitors.

In this paper, we exploit is the purchase of the Basler Zeitung, the largest newspaper of the Basel region in Switzerland by Christoph Blocher, the leader of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). We plan to use unsupervised measures of language similarity (TBIP) to identify any potential supply-side bias and its effect on voting. We then want to exploit the sale of the newspaper in 2018 to evaluate whether the effect persists due to ideological sorting. We are also interested in endogenous content adjustments by competitors. We have already collected the data (roughly 3 million articles from 2008 to 2020) and are currently implementing the language similarity algorithm.

Why do people vote? Are elections a device through which voters discipline politicians? Or are they a way for voters to express their preferences? How can the media influence the political process? In this course we try to answer such questions both theoretically and empirically.

The aim of this course is to introduce the measures used in applied economic history, their theoretical underpinnings, and their implications in empirical research. The course covers both theoretical and empirical research.


Stephanos Vlachos
Department of Economics
University of Vienna