Traineeship (PhD level), Economics – European Central Bank (ECB)

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Traineeship (PhD level)

Functional area: Economics


The Directorate General Economics of the European Central Bank (ECB) is seeking applications from postgraduate students who have recently received a PhD in economics, or who are close to completing their PhD studies, and are interested in participating in a traineeship programme. The traineeship will be in the Fiscal Policies Division for a period of three months in 2015.
The Fiscal Policies Division is responsible for monitoring, analysing and assessing the national fiscal policies of the Member States of the European Union (EU) and the euro area fiscal stance, as well as for providing fiscal forecasts. The functions of the Division include:

  • monitoring and assessing national budgetary plans in the stability and convergence programmes of Member States, including their implementation in annual budget laws;
  • monitoring and forecasting budgetary developments (including government financial operations), in close cooperation with national central banks;
  • assessing structural and institutional fiscal policy issues (including issues related to the Stability and Growth Pact, tax and expenditure policies, social security reforms, the quality of public finances and the role of fiscal institutions);
  • assessing the long-term sustainability of public finances (including the budgetary consequences of financial stability operations and population ageing);
  • conducting analytical studies on current and structural public finance issues, both from an EU cross-country perspective and a euro area-wide perspective;
  • providing secretariat services to the Working Group on Public Finance of the Monetary Policy Committee of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB);
  • preparing the external communication of the views of the ECB as well as of the Eurosystem/ESCB on the fiscal policies of EU Member States and the euro area fiscal stance.

The purpose of the traineeship is to carry out analytical projects, either in collaboration with or under the supervision of staff members, while gaining experience in the tasks performed by the team. Trainees will have the opportunity to submit the resulting papers for publication in the ECB Working Paper Series and academic journals.
Applicants are requested to indicate which of the following analytical projects they would prefer to contribute to:
1. EU/euro area fiscal governance and national fiscal institutions:
The trainee will help to analyse the institutions which support sound and sustainable fiscal policies and the smooth functioning of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Projects could cover the following: (i) the implications of EU governance reform for fiscal discipline and fiscal sustainability; or (ii) the impact of national fiscal institutions, balanced budget rules and spending rules on fiscal discipline and macroeconomic outcomes.
A sound knowledge of the institutional framework of EMU, as well as of recent European institutional developments, in particular those related to fiscal policies, is necessary. A good understanding of national fiscal institutions would be an asset.
2. Fiscal policy in empirical and theoretical macroeconomic models:
The trainee will help to analyse the macroeconomic effects of fiscal policies in the euro area. Projects could cover the following: (i) the transmission of fiscal policy measures in the euro area, with a particular focus on the estimation of fiscal policy multipliers (based on DSGE, SVAR and factor models) and on the effects and design of fiscal consolidation measures; (ii) the development of tools for fiscal forecasting, with an emphasis on the use of intra-annual fiscal information; or (iii) cross-country analysis of fiscal policy challenges. In-depth knowledge of dynamic general equilibrium theory and time-series econometrics would be an asset.
3. Interaction between monetary policy and fiscal policy:
The trainee will help to analyse issues related to monetary-fiscal interactions, with a particular focus on interactions between the single monetary policy and national fiscal policies within EMU. In this context, projects could focus on: (i) the impact of fiscal policies on the monetary policy transmission mechanism, e.g. bank balance sheets and credit conditions; (ii) fiscal and monetary policy interactions during a crisis, e.g. the impact of non-standard monetary policy measures on constrained fiscal policies; (iii) the impact of fiscal policies on prices; or (iv) public debt, economic growth and monetary policy.
4. Government debt and fiscal sustainability:
The trainee will help to analyse various aspects of longer-term fiscal sustainability. Projects could cover the following: (i) enhancing the tools for analysing fiscal sustainability; (ii) the impact of demographic trends and pension and healthcare reforms on fiscal sustainability; or (iii) government debt management and fiscal vulnerabilities.
A theoretical and/or empirical background in these areas, as well as experience with simulation models, is essential. Expertise in applied modelling and econometric techniques would be an asset.
5. Fiscal policy and financial stability:
The trainee will help to assess the relationships between fiscal policy and financial stability, asset prices and financing conditions. Projects could cover the following: (i) the link between financial stability and fiscal policies; (ii) analysis of the interaction between fiscal policies and household and corporate balance sheets; or (iii) the effects on financing conditions of government support for financial institutions, risks from state guarantees and recovery rates. A sound knowledge of applied modelling and econometric techniques, especially time-series analysis, is necessary.
6. Public finances and macroeconomic performance:
The trainee will help to analyse the role played by the composition and quality of public finances in macroeconomic performance and economic growth. Projects could cover the following: (i) the impact of fiscal consolidation on growth; (ii) links between fiscal policy and macroeconomic imbalances at the individual country level and at the regional level; or (iii) tax and social security reforms, supply conditions and long-term economic performance.
A sound knowledge of applied modelling and econometric techniques, especially panel data and time-series analysis, is necessary.

Qualifications and experience:

Applicants must have the following knowledge and competencies:

  • a PhD in economics (already obtained or close to completion);
  • a publications record that covers issues falling within the Division’s field of responsibility would be considered an asset;
  • a very good knowledge of English and a working knowledge of one other official language of the EU;
  • computer literacy and the ability to use different software applications;
  • knowledge of econometric packages, such as Matlab, Stata and Eviews, would be considered an asset.


The successful candidate will have the following behavioural competencies:

  • analyses complex datasets from a variety of sources;
  • creates a theoretical framework which aids the deployment of practical solutions;
  • pursues projects with energy and drive.

Further Information:

Traineeship of three months with the possibility of an extension to up to 12 months in total in the same business area or in the Directorate General (DG) Research, DG International & European Relations, DG Macro-Prudential Policy and Financial Stability or DG Market Operations.

Location: Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Closing Date for Applications: Mon, 2 Feb 2015

Read more and apply here.

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