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EQUALFIN Doctoral Program: Finance and inequality in times of polycrisis



Prof. Barbara Fritz (FU Berlin)

Prof. Heike Joebges (HTW Berlin)

Learn more about the members of the program.

The current multiple crises threaten to intensify existing social and economic inequalities. The ongoing crises and the response to them are taking place in the context of a global financial system that is increasingly failing to fulfil its traditional role of financing investment, increasing inequalities and characterized by hierarchically structured currency relations. Overcoming these crises and the transformation to a less unequal and at the same time lower-emission global economy require high volumes of finance. It is questionable whether the current financial system can cope with these tasks.

The impact of the financial system and inequality is a young but growing field of research. In the Global North, the influence of the financial system on growing inequality between households is being discussed, also in view of the effects of central bank policies. In addition, asymmetric effects on access to capital, development opportunities and economic leeway of countries in the global North compared to those in the South and within regions such as Europe are examined. However, there is a lack of systematic research and country comparisons on the effects of unequal access to financing in the wake of multiple crises and the distribution effects between the global North and the global South. Similarly, there is a lack of research on the question of suitable individual or institutional adjustment strategies and an improved design of the financial system to finance socio-economic transformation.

The doctoral program aims to address the interaction between the financial system and socio-economic inequality at national and global level as well as new conflicts of objectives arising from the financing of the ecological transformation at macro- and micro-economic level. The research will be methodologically pluralistic, multi-paradigmatic and interdisciplinary. The cooperative doctoral program is designed as an innovative pilot project between the FU Berlin and the HTW Berlin.

We have divided the research topics of the graduate school into four thematic research areas. Proposals for PhD research projects should be linked to one of these research areas.

Learn more about the four thematic research areas.

Doing a PhD in EQUALFIN

The Graduate School EQUALFIN is currently offering up to 12 PhD fellowships, funded by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung. Doctoral theses in one of the above-mentioned research areas will be supervised by the professors involved in the program. The program offers the opportunity to work with a team of experienced researchers, in your field of interest. The program is designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to successfully complete a doctorate on a topic of your choice within the research field of EQUALFIN. The researchers in EQUALFIN are linked to divers academic as well as policy oriented networks and practioneers that may benefit applicants.


Requirements for candidates: You must have a masters degree in economics or a closely related field. Second, you must have a good command of the German language.

Learn more about the application.

Key dates:

  • Deadline: 31 of May 2024
  • Information workshop on April 19, 2024

Learn more about the Information workshop.

Program structure:

To ensure a smooth and successful PhD journey and completion during the funding period, only a select number of courses are set to be mandatory. Beyond one recommended introductory course, the focus is on the research colloquium, where students will present their ongoing work every semester, and on a series of workshops tailored to the research projects and related demands of the PhD students. Optional supplementary courses can be chosen to enrich your academic knowledge.

Learn more about the program structure.