Dr Matthias Brachert

Dr Matthias Brachert
Current Position

since 5/20

Economist at the Centre for Evidence-based Policy Advice (IWH-CEP)

Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association

Research Interests

  • economic geography
  • urban economics
  • economic policy

Matthias Brachert joined the institute in November 2007. His research focuses on economic geography, urban economics, and economic policy.

Matthias Brachert earned a diploma from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and University of Reunion Island in France. He received his PhD from Utrecht University.

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Dr Matthias Brachert
Dr Matthias Brachert
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Urban Occupational Structures as Information Networks: The Effect on Network Density of Increasing Number of Occupations

Shade T. Shutters José Lobo Rachata Muneepeerakul Deborah Strumsky Charlotta Mellander Matthias Brachert Teresa Farinha Luis M. A. Bettencourt

in: Plos One, forthcoming


Urban economies are composed of diverse activities, embodied in labor occupations, which depend on one another to produce goods and services. Yet little is known about how the nature and intensity of these interdependences change as cities increase in population size and economic complexity. Understanding the relationship between occupational interdependencies and the number of occupations defining an urban economy is relevant because interdependence within a networked system has implications for system resilience and for how easily can the structure of the network be modified. Here, we represent the interdependencies among occupations in a city as a non-spatial information network, where the strengths of interdependence between pairs of occupations determine the strengths of the links in the network. Using those quantified link strengths we calculate a single metric of interdependence–or connectedness–which is equivalent to the density of a city’s weighted occupational network. We then examine urban systems in six industrialized countries, analyzing how the density of urban occupational networks changes with network size, measured as the number of unique occupations present in an urban workforce. We find that in all six countries, density, or economic interdependence, increases superlinearly with the number of distinct occupations. Because connections among occupations represent flows of information, we provide evidence that connectivity scales superlinearly with network size in information networks.

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Regional Effects of Professional Sports Franchises – Causal Evidence from Four European Football Leagues

Matthias Brachert

in: Regional Studies, No. 2, 2021


The locational pattern of clubs in four professional football leagues in Europe is used to test the causal effect of relegations on short-run regional development. The study relies on the relegation mode of the classical round-robin tournament in the European model of sport to develop a regression-discontinuity design. The results indicate small and significant negative short-term effects on regional employment and output in the sports-related economic sector. In addition, small negative effects on overall regional employment growth are found. Total regional gross value added remains unaffected.

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Entry into Self-employment and Individuals’ Risk-taking Propensities

Matthias Brachert Walter Hyll Abdolkarim Sadrieh

in: Small Business Economics, No. 4, 2020


Most of the existing empirical literature on self-employment decisions assumes that individuals’ risk-taking propensities are stable over time. We allow for endogeneity on both sides when examining the relationship between individual risk-taking propensities and entry into self-employment. We confirm that a greater risk-taking propensity is associated with a higher probability of entering self-employment. However, we also find evidence that entering self-employment is associated with a significant and substantial increase in an individual’s propensity to take risks. Our findings add to the growing evidence that risk-taking propensities are not only inborn, but also determined by environmental factors.

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Working Papers


Where to Go? High-skilled Individuals’ Regional Preferences

Sabrina Jeworrek Matthias Brachert

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 27, 2022


We conduct a discrete choice experiment to investigate how the location of a firm in a rural or urban region affects job attractiveness and contributes to the spatial sorting of university students and graduates. We characterize the attractiveness of a location based on several dimensions (social life, public infrastructure, connectivity) and combine this information with an urban or rural attribution. We also vary job design as well as contractual characteristics of the job. We find that job offers from companies in rural areas are generally considered less attractive. This is true regardless of the attractiveness of the region. The negative perception is particularly pronounced among persons with urban origin and singles. These persons rate job offers from rural regions significantly worse. In contrast, high-skilled individuals who originate from rural areas as well as individuals with partners and kids have no specific preference for jobs in urban or rural areas.

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Identifying the Effects of Place-based Policies – Causal Evidence from Germany

Matthias Brachert Eva Dettmann Mirko Titze

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 18, 2016


The German government provides discretionary investment grants to structurally weak regions to reduce regional disparities. We use a regression discontinuity design that exploits an exogenous discrete jump in the probability of receiving investment grants to identify the causal effects of the investment grant on regional outcomes. We find positive effects for regional gross value-added and productivity growth, but no effects for employment and gross wage growth.

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On the Stability of Preferences: Repercussions of Entrepreneurship on Risk Attitudes

Matthias Brachert Walter Hyll

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 5, 2014


The majority of empirical studies make use of the assumption of stable preferences in searching for a relationship between risk attitude and the decision to become and stay an entrepreneur. Yet empirical evidence on this relationship is limited. In this paper, we show that entry into entrepreneurship itself plays a decisive role in shaping risk preferences. We find that becoming self-employed is indeed associated with a relative increase in risk attitudes, an increase that is quantitatively large and significant even after controlling for individual characteristics, different employment status, and duration of entrepreneurship. The findings suggest that studies assuming that risk attitudes are stable over time suffer from reverse causality; risk attitudes do not remain stable over time, and individual preferences change endogenously.

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