PhD Seminar of the Department of Economics

Aims of the Course

Students will learn about how to present and discuss papers in a conference-style environment. They will receive constructive feedback on the content and style of their work and presentation from a discussant, the audience and senior researchers. Moreover, they will learn how to discuss a paper and chair a session. These meeting will also present an opportunity to socialize and exchange ideas.


Seminars usually start at 4:15 p.m. PER 21, room F205. A detailed schedule will be published before the next seminar takes place.
Presentation slots can be reserved on a first come, first serve basis. Please send your inquiry to Elsa Gautrain.


PhD Seminars 2024

  • April

    April 18,
    Presenter: Leonardo Conte
    Title: Qualitative Methods for Economics: The Case of Consumer Behaviour 
    Abstract: Economics is traditionally a quantitative science. Most social sciences, however, extensively adopt qualitative research methods for the inquiry of socioeconomic phenomena and objects of analysis. Through the exemplary case of consumer behaviour, and drawing upon the limits of behavioural policy strategies (i.e., context-dependence, long-term ineffectiveness), this work (1) highlights the role of non-quantitatively measurable sociocultural factors over behavioural features; (2) examines the methodological assumptions of both experimental and observational research; (3) suggests an epistemological shift filling the gap between the generalizability and causality bias of economic studies and the exploratory understanding of economic reality.

  • May

    May 2,
    Presenter: Yannick Schmutz
    Title: "The effects of highway access on firm agglomeration and networks"

    Abstract:  We use novel firm data and analyze how the construction of highways in Switzerland affected the number of firms and the firm structure at the Swiss municipal level. We have constructed a geo-referenced dataset containing all limited companies including all members of their board of directors between 1934 and 2003. Based on the director’s data, we can extend our study to include an analysis of firm networks (through directors) and how these might have been affected by the agglomeration forces due to highway construction.

    May 16,
    Presenter: Christian Arciniegas


In general, doctoral students are offered a presentation slot of about 50 minutes (20-30 min presentation, and general discussion) or a shorter slot, e.g. for presenting a research idea, of about 25 minutes (short presentation and discussion). However, doctoral students may suggest an alternative format that better fits their needs. The seminar is particularly designed for doctoral students and researchers in economics and social sciences of the University of Fribourg. PhD students and researchers from other Swiss and international universities are also welcome to present their work. Participants can present their dissertation project or a paper (at any stage of work). Presentations can be held in English, French or German. Presentation slides should always be in English.