Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Institute for East and Southeast European Studies - Regensburg; European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Central European Labor Studies Institute
political economy, comparative political institutions, democracy and democratization, politics of transition region, corruption, public policy
Media Contact

Personal Info

About Me

I received my PhD from Princeton University (Woodrow Wilson School) in 2011. I’m interested in political economy, comparative politics, emerging markets, comparative political institutions, corruption, public policy and the politics and economics of transition. At the EBRD, I am head investigator for the Life in Transition Survey. My work has covered diverse areas including the post-communist region, the US and Greece. I am fluent in Bulgarian, Russian and Italian.

Recent Publications

Diversity and Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies, forthcoming (2016), IZA World of Labor

Forthcoming.  Destined for Democracy? Labour Markets and Political Change in Colonial British America, British Journal of Political Science

How Much Should We Trust Life Satisfaction Data? Evidence from the Life in Transition Survey (with Peter Sanfey), Forthcoming, Journal of Comparative Economics

The Happiness Gap in Eastern Europe (with Simeon Djankov and Jan Zilinsky), Journal of Comparative Economics, 2016, 44(1), 108-124.

The Great Recession and Social Preferences: Evidence from Ukraine (with Ralph de Haas and Milena Djourelova), Journal of Comparative Economics, 2016, 44(1), 92-107.

Nikolova, Elena and Dora Simroth. 2015.  Religious Diversity and Entrepreneurship in Transition: Lessons for Policymakers, IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, 4:5.

Chapters in policy reports

With Alexander Plekhanov, Gerard Roland and Jeromin Zettelmeyer. 2013. Building Better Economic Institutions, in Stuck in Transition?, EBRD Transition Report, EBRD, 41-59.

With Frantisek Ricka and Dora Simroth. 2011. Entrepreneurship in the Transition Region: An Analysis Based on the Life in Transition Survey, in Crisis and Transition: The People’s Perspective, EBRD Transition Report, EBRD, 76-95.

Media Coverage

What Explains Political Institutions? Evidence from Colonial British America, Vox (CEPR’s Policy Portal), 17 August 2012

Destined for Democracy? Labor markets and political change in colonial British America, Policy Space, University of Canberra, 22 October 2015

Links: VOX, Policy Space

Do Windfalls of Public Funds Encourage Corruption? Evidence from a Natural Disaster, Financial Times, Washington Post (Monkey Cage)Standart newspaper (in Bulgarian), Bulgarian National Radio (in Bulgarian, 20.04.2015), Capital newspaper (in Bulgarian)

What Do East and West Ukrainians Want? Novoe Vremya (Ukrainian Magazine); (in Russian), 28 April 2015.

Link: Novoe Vremya

Differences Between East and West Ukrainians” Novoe Vremya (Ukrainian Magazine); (in Russian), 19 May 2015

Link: Novoe Vremya

Explaining Eastern Europe’s Happiness Gap,, 5 October 2015; also featured in Forbes Magazine Russia

Link:, Forbes Magazine Russia (in Russian)


Country Focus
Bulgaria, Greece, Ukraine, post-communist region

Research Areas

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