Skip to content

Contact info

[email protected]

[+39] 055 4685 266


Villa La Fonte, VF086

Working languages

German, Italian, English, English


Felix Schaff obtained his PhD in economic history from the London School of Economics. He received BA and MSc degrees in Economics and Management from Witten-Herdecke University and Bocconi University, and an MPhil in Economic and Social History from the University of Cambridge.

Felix’s main research interests are in the fields of economic history, political economy, economic inequality and mobility. He tries to find answers to a major puzzle in economic history: why was economic inequality already high when industrialisation and modern economic growth began?

In his PhD project Felix first reconstructed inequality statistics, such as the top 10% wealth share and the Gini coefficient, from archive documents, from the Black Death in the 14th century until the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Second, he investigated the causal effects of three forces grounded in the political economy of early-modern Europe: the Protestant Reformation, warfare, and oligarchic governmental institutions.

In his new research project, ‘Wealth and gender inequality in a historical developing economy: Württemberg 1545’, Felix studies the effect of inheritance practices on wealth and gender inequality. At the heart of this project lies the idea that inheritance practices, arguably the most important resource allocation mechanism outside markets, can be inequality-promoting or reducing. These practices are historically so persistent that the same customs prevail in many areas of Württemberg today.

Research projects, clusters and working groups

Go back to top of the page