Celina Proffen

Ph.D. Candidate in Economics
at Goethe University Frankfurt

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Research Interests: Development Economics, Structural Transformation, Labor Economics, Political Economy

Do Political Conflicts Influence Daily Consumption Choices? Evidence from US-China Relations (with Lukas Jürgensmeier) 

Does political conflict with a foreign country influence domestic consumers' daily consumption choices? This study exploits the volatile US-China relations in 2018 and 2019 to analyze whether US consumers reduce their visits to Chinese restaurants when bilateral relations deteriorate. We measure the degree of political conflict through negativity in media reports and rely on smartphone location data to measure daily visits to over 190,000 US restaurants.  A deterioration in US-China relations induces a significant decline in visits to Chinese restaurants, while visits to American restaurants increase. We identify consumers' age, race, and cultural openness to mediate the strength of this effect.

How Does Technological Progress Matter for Intra-Household Resource Allocation at Early Stages of Development? Evidence from Ethiopia

Electrification is often thought of as a prime example of technological progress. While there is abundant evidence on how technological progress alters aggregate economic structures in developing countries, there is little evidence on how it affects intra-household decision-making. This project exploits a large-scale rural electrification program in Ethiopia and combines it with detailed panel data on households’ time and resource allocations. It then analyses how key outcomes of interest, such as children’s educational outcomes and females’ labor market participation, change after gaining electricity access, and how these changes depend on the household composition and other members’ responses.

The Long-Run Effects of Birthright Citizenship on Second-Generation Immigrants (with Franziska Riepl

Obtaining citizenship is often considered a crucial step in the lives of second-generation immigrants. However, the application procedures are considered a major administrative and personal hurdle. We study how the introduction of birthright citizenship in Germany shaped the lives of these individuals, allowing them to integrate into German society with more ease and access various social and economic benefits. 

In our study, we exploit the design of the citizenship reform and rely on a combination of high-quality survey and census data to examine its long-run effects on school performance, access to higher education, and school-to-work transitions.  We aim to shed light on the mechanisms underlying the observed effects, and investigate the role of increased parental investments and an ameliorated sense of belonging. Our study has important implications for policymakers promoting immigrant integration and equal access to opportunities and benefits.