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Faculty of Law, Business & Economics

Economics VII: Quantitative Economic History – Prof. Dr. Sebastian Till Braun

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The Chair VWL VII supervises Bachelor and Master theses in quantitative economic history. Prerequisite for writing your thesis at our chair is that you have successfully passed at least one of our courses. Ideally, you should have attended one of the chair’s specialization courses in addition to a foundation course. We strongly recommend Master students to take our course Natural Experiments in Quantitative Economic History if you want to write your thesis with us.

Supervision request / Registration of theses

You can contact us at any time with your supervision request. Please directly contact the member of our team whose research and/or teaching interests are closest to the proposed topic of your thesis. After we have approved your supervision request, you can register your thesis through Campus Online in the office of the chair. Please note that students should submit a thesis outline before registering their thesis. The outline should ensure that your thesis is well thought through and feasible. In particular, we can only agree to supervise your thesis if you have clarified that the data required for your thesis is actually available. You can find a sample template for the outline here (but you can also prepare your own outline).


With regard to contents, a thesis at the Chair VWL VII should typically fulfil the following conditions:

  • The thesis should deal with a historical event or development, which potentially had - or still has - economic consequences.

  • The thesis should have a quantitative focus - and will typically include an econometric analysis of a cause - effect relationship, conducted in the statistical software Stata.

  • Purely descriptive analyses are generally also possible, especially in a Bachelor thesis. However, the thesis should then clearly document the independent and scientific preparation of historical data.

A thesis at the Chair VWL VII is usually based on an already published scientific paper, which has an empirical focus. The thesis could replicate and critically discuss the paper and its contribution to the literature. Such a critical replication of a paper might already be sufficient for a Bachelor thesis, especially if the underlying data is not readily available. For a Master thesis, we typically expect students to ‘push out the boundaries of knowledge’ in some way. This could involve checking if the empirical results found in one paper can be supported using more recent data or data for a different country. Just summarizing the existing research without providing new insights is not sufficient for a thesis. Please discuss the details in a personal meeting with your potential supervisor.


Please read our tips for writing a thesis before you start working on your thesis. Our formal requirements follow those of the Chair VWL VI.

Seminar presentation

Students writing their thesis at the Chair VWL VII have to present their work in a seminar. The 25-minute presentation should discuss the key research question, contribution, methods and central results of the thesis. The presentation takes place before the thesis is submitted, so that seminar feedback can still be incorporated. 

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