Andreas Beerli

ETH Zürich
KOF Swiss Economic Institute
Leonhardstrasse 21
LEE G 116
CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland

Andreas Beerli Portrait

Welcome to my website

I am an economist studying immigration, crimal justice, and (digital) labor markets. I work as a senior researcher at the KOF Economic Institute and at the Immigration Policy Lab, both at ETH Zurich. I have a PhD from the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich.

I am co-founder of Policy Analytics whose mission is to support organizations using rigorous evidence to design social programs, policies, services, or interventions that enable their clients to make better decisions for themselves and society.

Most of my work uses field experiments, surveys, natural experiments and large data sets. To evaluate, learn and improve the impact of policies and social programs, I am collaborating with and suppport decision makers in foundations, and in the public and private sector.

Recent work studies how removing immigration restrictions for EU citizens affected native workers in Switzerland and how the digital revolution shapes the skills immigrants bring to destination countries.

You can find my CV here.


  • Demand forces of technical change: Evidence from the chinese manufacturing industry
  • China Economic Review, 2020, 60, 101157, joint with Franziska Weiss, Fabrizio Zilibotti, and Josef Zweimüller. Ungated working paper
  • Abstract This paper investigates the effect of domestic market size on innovation activities across different durable good industries in the Chinese manufacturing sector. We ad- dress the endogeneity of market size by an IV strategy, based on a measure of potential market size, which is driven only by changes in the Chinese income distribution. This measure is exogenous to changes in prices and qualities of durable goods and is a valid instrument for expected future market size. Our results indicate that an increase in market size by one percent leads to an increase in firm-specific total factor productivity by 0.46 percent and an increase in labor productivity by 0.50 percent. These findings are robust to controlling for export behavior of firms and supply side drivers of R&D.

Ongoing projects

  • The supply of foreign talent: How skill-biased technology drives the location choice and skills of new immigrants
  • R+R Journal of Population Economics, joint with Ronald Indergand and Johannes Kunz. Working Paper.
  • Abstract An important goal of immigration policy is to facilitate the entry of foreign-born workers whose skills are in short supply in national labor markets. In recent decades, information and communication technology [ICT] has fueled the demand for highly educated workers at the expense of lower educated groups. Exploiting the fact that different regions in Switzerland have been differentially exposed to ICT due to their pre-ICT industrial composition, we present evidence suggesting that more exposed regions experienced stronger ICT adoption, accompanied by considerably stronger growth in relative employment and wage-premia for college-educated workers. Following this change in the landscape of relative economic opportunities, we find robust evidence that these regions experienced a much stronger influx of highly educated immigrants in absolute terms as well as relative to lower educated groups. Our results suggest that immigrants’ location decisions respond strongly to these long-run, technology-driven changes in their economic opportunities.
  • Earlier version: June 2016, April 2015
  • featured in: Media Briefing Royal Economic Society 2015, UBS Center Summary, Swiss Radio (german), Die Volkswirtschaft (May 2015: german/french, Nov 2015: german/french), Tagesanzeiger (german), BAZ Dec 2015.
  • Monopsony at Work? The Short- and Long-run Effects of Labor Restrictions on Refugees’ Economic Integration
  • joint with Achim Ahrens, Dominik Hangartner, Selina Kurer, and Michael Siegenthaler. Draft available at request.
  • Abstract How do policies that restrict refugees’ labor market access affect their economic in- tegration? This paper analyzes the employment, wage, and job mobility effects of labor market policies regulating whether, where, and for whom refugees are allowed to work. The empirical design exploits the exogenous assignment of refugees to Swiss cantons upon arrival and the rich spatio-temporal variation in cantonal labor market policies. We merge newly collected data on cantonal policies 1999–2016 to high-quality administrative data on refugees’ asylum processes and social security earnings records. Using a range of panel data models, we find negative short- to medium-term employment and earnings effects of banning refugees from working in the first months after arrival, prioritizing residents over refugees, and restricting refugees’ labor markets geographically and sectorally. These effects are substantial in size: moving from the least to the most restrictive policy mix reduces the average employment rate of refugees in the first five years after arrival from 23% to 16%. The priority requirement and sectoral and geographical restrictions also lower refugees’ hourly wages. Consistent with dynamic models of monopsony, the wage effects arise because the two policies reduce refugees’ chances to switch to more demand- ing and better-paid jobs. Restrictive policies do not affect emigration, not even among refugees that are only temporally admitted. This enables us to trace the longer-term scars of labor market policies: we find that priority and blocking policies reduce refugees’ labor market earnings up to five and six years, respectively, after they cease applying. Together, these results suggest that labor restrictions for refugees burden both refugees and host communities with significant costs.
  • Political repercussions of open borders
  • joint with Dalston Ward and Dominik Hangartner. Draft available at request.
  • Abstract Prominent explanations of anti-immigrant attitudes give centrality to the socio-cultural differences between immigrants and host communities and to the economic threats posed by newcomers. In this paper, we provide evidence of a backlash to immigration in a context where both socio-cultural and economic threats were minimal. We study Switzerland, which opened its borders and labor market to the rest of Europe in the 2000s. Using a difference- in-differences approach, we first show that the number immigrants living and working in Swiss border municipalities increased dramatically after the borders opened, with the vast majority of these immigrants coming from neighbouring France, Germany and Italy. In the same border municipalities, we find that support for the anti-immigrant parties increased by approximately five percentage points after borders were opened. These findings contribute to our theoretical understanding of anti-immigrant sentiment and have important implications for the political consequences of the European Union’s principle of free movement.
  • The right to be heard: a randomized controlled trial on economizing procedural justice
  • joint with Lorenz Biberstein, Martin Killias, Michel Maréchal, and Nora Markwalder. Slides available at request.
  • Abstract The right to be heard – Audi Alteram Partem – is a fundamental principle underlying most legal systems and constitutes a basic human right. Legal scholars argue that the right to be heard is essential for the rule of law because it helps achieving truth and legitimizes judicial sentencing. On the other hand, hearings are labor and time intensive, leading to an overloaded criminal justice system, particularly for mass crimes. We evaluate the importance of hearings in the context of a large-scale reform of the Swiss Criminal Procedure Code, which delegated sentencing power from courts to the prosecutors through the means of penal orders. As a consequence of the reform, prosecutors sentence offenders by sending them a penal order that is solely based on police reports in roughly 90% of all criminal proceedings, de facto removing the defendants‘ right of being heard. We conducted a field experiment in collaboration with a public prosecution office in Switzerland and randomly invited defendants to participate in a prosecutorial hearing, allowing us to investigate the causal effect of hearings on prosecutorial sentencing, perceptions of procedural fairness, and recidivism.

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Field Partners

I’m passionate about finding synergies and collaborating with NGOs, public and private sector organizations and research institutions to advance our understanding of human behavior allowing us to design, test, improve and scale social programs, policies and interventions that ultimately allow people and communities to thrive. Here are some organizations I have been working with:

State Secretariate for Economic Affairs SECO, Bern

SECO is the federal government`s centre of excellence for all core issues relating to economic and labour market policy. We helped them to evaluate the implementation of the job vacancy notice obligation (Stellenmeldepflicht). This policy requires that job vacancies in occupation with a high level of unemployment can be accessed first only by residents in Switzerland on an online job-boad.

Engagement Migros, Zürich

Engagement Migros supports and guides pioneering projects committed to social impact. We support them in this endeavour by developing a tailor-made impact guidance system that facilitates the use of evidence and learning about what works and what does not in each pioneer project.

Logo-Kanton St. Gallen
Prosecutorial Office, Canton of St. Gallen

We collaborated with the prosecutorial office in St. Gallen to learn about the importance of economizing hearings in the penal process.

Logo-Kanton Zuerich
Office for Corrections and Rehabilitation, Canton of Zürich

The Office for Corrections and Rehabilitation is responsible for the administration of the various forms of custodial sentences and non-custodial measures. We support them in the design, implementation and evaluation of evidence-based reforms.

Uber, Switzerland

Uber is a ride hailing service operative in different cities in Switzerland. We collaborate to learn about the effects of different policies implemented in Switzerland.


Department of Consultation-Liaison-Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine

The Outpatient Clinic for Victims of Torture and War offers psychiatric-psychotherapeutic clarification and treatment to severely traumatised people with a refugee background. We collaborate to learn about the effects of trauma treatments on mental health and long-term integration of refugees.

Access to Justice Lab at Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA

The Access to Justice Lab creates and shares the rigorous evidence needed to expand the access to civil justice in U.S. and to improve fairness, dignity and respect in the criminal justice system. We collaborate to study the effects of different criminal justice policies.

Immigration Policy Lab, Zürich

The Immigration Policy Lab evaluates and design policies surrounding the integration of immigrants and refugees worldwide. We joint forces to study the effects of immigrants on attitudes of natives towards them and to study different policies and intervention that promote long-term integration of immigrants.

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Blogs / policy briefs

  • Stellenmeldepflicht: Potenzial für Verbesserungen in der Umsetzung vorhanden, Die Volkswirtschaft, June 2021 (with Justus Bamert, Boris Kaiser, Daniel Kopp, and Michael Siegenthaler)
  • Monitoringevaluation der Stellenmeldepflicht I, Grundlagen für die Wirtschaftspolitik, Nr. 19, June 2021, Staatssekretariat für Wirtschaft SECO, Bern (with Justus Bamert, Boris Kaiser, Daniel Kopp, and Michael Siegenthaler)
  • Impact Guide: Migros-Pionierfonds, May 2021 (with Aljosha Henkel, and Linda Sulzer; available upon email request)
  • Grenzgänger: Wissensintensive Unternehmen profitieren am meisten, Die Volkswirtschaft, March 2021 (with Michael Siegenthaler)
  • How do ETH Alumni fare in the job market?, KOF Studies, No. 152, July 2020 (with Mahsa Khoshnama, Daniel Kopp, Michael Siegenthaler)
  • Can education programs prevent violent extremism?, Blog Center for Global Development (CGD), July 2019 (with Stephan Kyburz and Adina Rom)
  • Die Ursachen der Fachkräftemigration in die Schweiz, Die Volkswirtschaft, November 2015 (with Ronald Indergand)
  • The labour market effect of opening the border to immigrant workers, Vox EU column, August 2015 (with Giovanni Peri)
  • Die Arbeitsmarktpolarisierung nimmt zu, Die Volkswirtschaft, May 2015 (with Ronald Indergand)
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