Thesis defence coming up: Vinzent Ostermeyer
After completing the doctoral education PhD student Vinzent Ostermeyer will defend his thesis 24 February. Get a quick glimpse of his thesis, experiences and near future.
Hi, Vinzent! You are about to defend your thesis Why Firms Grow: The Roles of Institutions, Trade, and Technology during Swedish Industrialization. In short, what is your thesis about?
“Industrialization and the emergence of a manufacturing sector are generally perceived as key drivers for countries to see economic growth and increases in living standards. How did today’s high-income countries initially manage to start growing and industrializing? While existing explanations focus on the roles of, for example, institutions, trade, and technology, such aspects have generally not been analyzed at the level where economic growth occurred: the industrial firm.
My thesis analyzes the causes of industrialization at the firm level. It studies how (some) manufacturing establishments managed to start growing, adopted new technologies, and learned to organize themselves more efficiently in late nineteenth-century Sweden. As such, the thesis focuses on the formative years of the Swedish economy when the country developed from being one of the poorest on Europe’s periphery into one of the fastest-growing economies worldwide. To do so, the study leverages newly digitized data that cover in unique detail the yearly performance of Swedish manufacturing firms.
In four papers, the thesis shows how policies that generally have been perceived as key drivers of the industrialization process—e.g., general incorporation laws or tariff protection—enabled marginal establishments to grow, organize as factories, and adopt new technologies, such as steam power. Yet, state policy was no panacea as it (sometimes) negatively affected leading establishments. Using individual census data on the employment of individuals in Sweden, the USA, and Great Britain, the study also documents how industrialization led to further growth dynamics, primarily in the service sector. More broadly, this thesis shows how firm-level growth in manufacturing created an economic dynamism that would ultimately better the lives of people.“
In three words, how would you describe your years as a PhD student at LUSEM?
“Pursuing a PhD is certainly always challenging, given that one has to manage multiple projects (e.g., working on the data, writing and revising papers or teaching) simultaneously. Yet, seeing this result in published articles or the printed thesis is highly rewarding. I also very much appreciate the collegiality among my project members as well as the staff at the Department of Economic History and LUSEM, which greatly helped in finishing the PhD.“
What are you up to now?
“Currently, I am preparing myself for the defence. At the same time, I am also working on revising the papers for publication and on the next steps in my career.“
Thank you, Vinzent! Wishing you all the best!