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, (digital) labor markets, and public policy more generally. I work as a senior researcher at the KOF Economic Institute at ETH Zurich. I am also a research affiliate at the Immigration Policy Lab, at the Institute of Labor Economics IZA, and at the Zurich Center for Neuroeconomics (UZH). 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 Labor Market Effects of Restricting Refugees' Employment Opportunities
  • joint with Achim Ahrens, Dominik Hangartner, Selina Kurer, and Michael Siegenthaler. IZA Discussion Paper No. 15901.
  • Abstract Do policies that restrict employment opportunities help to explain why refugees typically have lower employment rates and wages than similar native citizens? This paper analyzes the effects of 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. Using newly collected data on cantonal policies 1999–2016 and high-quality linked administrative data, we find negative employment and earnings effects of banning refugees from working in the first months after arrival, of prioritizing residents over refugees, and of restricting labor markets geographically and sectorally. 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%. Likely by exogenously reducing workers’ outside options, region and sector restrictions also lower refugees’ job mobility and hourly wages. Consistent with a monopsonistic explanation, the restrictions partly explain why refugees earn less in similar jobs than observationally equivalent resident workers. We find no evidence that restrictive policies spur emigration. This facilitates the identification of longer-term scars of the policies: we find that priority to residents and a long work ban in the initial year reduce refugees’ earnings in the following four to five years. Together, these results suggest that labor restrictions burden both refugees and host communities with significant costs.
  • featured in: Blick am Sonntag May 2023.
  • Political repercussions of open borders
  • joint with Ala' Alrababa'h, Dominik Hangartner, and Dalston Ward. 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 work in progress

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:

x28, Thalwil

x28 operates online job vacancy plattforms in Switzerland. We are working with x28 to advance our understanding how job seekers search for jobs online and which job features they value.

Kununu, Vienna

Kununu is an online job and employer rating platform operating in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Kununu’s mission is to improve the transparency and fairness of the job search process by making information available about different job aspects, including wages and firm culture, so job seekers have an easier time to choose the right employer. We are working with Kununu to advance our understanding how job seekers value different aspects of jobs and a firm’s culture.

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.

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

  • Winners and losers of immigration, KOF Bulletin, September 2023, Version in German
  • Labour market restrictions on refugees, KOF Bulletin, September 2023, Version in German (with Michael Siegenthaler)
  • Was wissen wir über die Wirkung von (Alternativen zu) Strafen? - Ein Plädoyer für Experimente im Justizsystem, April 2023, in Ajil, Ahmed, Kuhn, André, Schwarzenegger, Christian, and Vuille, Joëlle (Eds.), Alternativen: Von der alternativen Sanktion zur alternativen Kriminologie, Basel: Helbing Lichtenhahn.
  • How computerisation is driving the immigration of highly skilled workers, KOF Bulletin, September 2022, Version in German (with Ronald Indergand and Johannes Kunz)
  • Gehaltszufriedenheit, kununu Gehaltsstudie 2022, March 2022 (with team at Kununu, Daniel Kopp, and Michael Siegenthaler)
  • Digital divide? An analysis of the usage data from the online job platform Job-Room, KOF Bulletin, December 2021, Version in German
  • 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)
  • 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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