The KOF Swiss Economic Institute at the ETH Zurich is the leading institute for applied research in economics in Switzerland (www.kof.ethz.ch). KOF provides expert information in the field of economic and business cycle research. It produces a multitude of forecasts and indicators which are used to monitor the economy. It analyses the innovation activities of Swiss companies, publishes studies on the labour market and healthcare spending, and comments on the latest economic developments.

Project background

We are looking for a dedicated individual to perform an internship (6 months) for the research project The Swiss savings glut – Origins, consequences and outlook in the Research Division Macroeconomic Forecastingwhich will examine the following interrelated questions:

  • Which variables determine the formation of savings? Can we identify changes over time?
  • What is the influence of demographic change and the increase in inherited wealth?
  • What is the influence of changes in the taxation of income, savings and assets?
  • What was the influence of the introduction of the AHV and occupational pension scheme? What is the influence of expectations about the future of the Swiss retirement system?
  • Which factors are responsible for the Swiss current account surpluses? Has the relative importance of these factors changed over time?
  • What role does private households’ propensity to save in Switzerland play in this?
  • What role do institutional factors, the legal framework and taxation play?
  • Are there plausible scenarios for the development of the driving factors of the Swiss current account? In which partial balances of the current account should such changes be manifest themselves? Is it to be expected that Switzerland will continue to generate current account surpluses in the future? What would be the macroeconomic effects and the related structural change?
  • How have Swiss foreign investments performed in the past? What influence do the asset classes and currencies have? How significant are the effects of the exchange rate? Are there any examples of this from the history of other countries?
  • Can future scenarios be derived from the analysis of the international assets? What are the implications if the Swiss net capital export were to become a net capital import? Are there any examples of this from the economic history of other countries?

Job description

You will work closely with the project leaders, Michael Graff, Head of the Division, and Yngve Abrahamsen, Head of the Section Swiss Forecasts. You will assist in reviewing the relevant literature, searching for suitable data and putting together a cross-country panel database going back to at least to the 1950s as well as in planning and conducting econometric and cliometric analyses of these data and in documenting the findings as a research assistant and, depending on your contributions the project, as a co-author.

Our offer

  • Internship will ideally cover 6 months of the 1-year project period; initial contract for three months; starting date as soon as possible but open to negotiation.
  • A unique opportunity to gain research experience in a supportive and international team.
  • An office location in the centre of Zurich, flexible working hours and work-from-home options.
  • Never ending supply of coffee and walnuts.

Your profile

  • Degree in economics or a related field.
  • Knowledge in balance of payments accounting, understanding of the economic concepts behind it.
  • Interest in applied economics and economic history
  • Interest and experience in handling and analysing of cross sectional and time series data.
  • Excellent English writing skills; knowledge of German is an advantage.
  • Swiss or EU citizenship, Swiss work permit otherwise.

ETH Zurich

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.Working, teaching and research at ETH ZurichGet connected


We look forward to receiving your online application until January 31, 2021 including:

  • Motivation letter,
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Writing sample in German and English (e.g., Bachelor and Master thesis),
  • Copies of certificates and contact information for 2-3 potential referees.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through the online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Unless a job offer is rejected, candidates who are invited for an interview will be reimbursed for travel expenses.

Notice that due to the pandemic, for the time being, we are all expected to work from home, so that we will restrict our presence at the Institute to fortnightly project coordination meetings.

Questions regarding the position should be directed to Mrs. Sabrina Humbel, by email: humbel@kof.ethz.ch (no applications).

Apply online now

Leave a Reply