PhD Research position in Political Economics

Leuven, Louvain (BE)
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
End of advertisement period
Thursday, 9 July 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time


(ref. BAP-2020-495)

LEER is a research and education center of the Faculty of Economics and Business of the KU Leuven. We aim for independent state-of-the-art academic research on public economics issues with economic tools (see www.feb.kuleuven.be/leer).


The research project will analyze the role transparency rules in the relationship between corporations and the public sector. This is a first-order issue for the European society, because public expenditure represents a large share of the European economies – public procurement contracts alone account for about 14 % of GDP of the EU member states. The project will be conducted in a consortium of KU Leuven and Charles University in Prague.

Within the project, the PhD researcher will analyze the effects of two recent European policy efforts to increase corporate transparency: beneficial ownership registration and regulations for corporate political connections. Exploiting novel data sources, the researcher will examine the effect of changes in these two areas on various corporate outcomes: ownership structure, success rates in public procurement and subsidies at both the EU and national levels, use of offshore subsidiaries and location of reported profits, and basic balance sheet indicators such as profit, taxes, and debt.


The Research Center LEER (KU Leuven) is looking for an enthusiastic and motivated junior scholar to conduct a PhD in economics. The candidate should have the following qualifications:

  • You hold an EU/US MSc degree in Economics, Business Economics, Commercial Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mathematics, or Statistics.
  • Having at least ‘cum laude’ (honors) during master years or equivalent.
  • You have strong skills in statistical, econometric and quantitative data analysis and experience with statistical packages (in particular STATA, R and/or Python); and are keen on developing these skills further.
  • Enthusiastic and motivated to do research.
  • You are proficient in English.
  • You have very good scientific writing skills.
  • Previous experience with public procurement and/or firm level data is an asset.
  • You are a team player that is able to work independently.
  • Successful candidates are required to enter the PhD program in economics of the Faculty of Economics and Business of KU Leuven (see https://feb.kuleuven.be/research/PhD/PhD). Supplement your previous studies, the candidate is required to take on an individual “doctum colloquium” consisting of courses from the Master of Science in Advanced Studies in Economics. Students who have obtained a Master of Science in Advanced Studies in Economics degree from KU Leuven with honors or higher will be exempted from this doctum colloquium.


  • The candidate is expected to prepare a PhD at the LEER research group under the supervision of Professor Kristof De Witte and Vitezslav Titl.
  • The candidate will have opportunity to spent a part of the PhD studies at Charles University in Prague.
  • We offer a competitive full-time PhD scholarship (approximately 2,100 net paid 13.4 times per anum). The position is for 4 years, conditional upon a positive evaluation after 1 year.
  • We offer additional benefits in terms of health insurance, reduced public transport prices, free bicycle use, access to university sports facilities, …
  • KU Leuven offers opportunities to follow academic, skills and career training courses.
  • Working in an attractive international environment.
  • You are expected to participate in seminars and will occasionally be involved in teaching activities including supervision of exams.
  • Start date – October 1, 2020. 
  • Once the PhD study is completed, you receive a PhD in Economics.

Interested?  To apply for the position, please prepare the following documents:

•    A curriculum vitae
•    An overview of your study results (certified copies of diplomas and transcripts).
•    A letter of motivation (max. 500 words): all applicants must provide a letter of motivation.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Kristof De Witte, tel.: +32 16 32 66 56, mail: kristof.dewitte@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than July 09, 2020 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.