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 labor markets, immigration and crime. I work as a postdoctoral 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.

Most of my work uses field experiments, surveys, natural experiments and large data sets. To evaluate and improve the impact of policies and programs, I am collaborating with decision makers in the public and private sector at different levels. Curious? Check out here how we can support you in your organization.

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.


Working Papers


  • The abolition of immigration restrictions and the performance of firms and workers: Evidence from Switzerland
  • joint with Jan Ruffner, Michael Siegenthaler and Giovanni Peri: NBER Working Paper No. 25302
  • This study builds on the insights of the paper "The Labor Market Effects of Opening the Border", written with Giovanni Peri (download working paper) and those of Michael and Jan in their paper.
  • Invited for resubmission at the American Economic Review
  • Abstract We study a reform that granted European cross-border workers free access to the Swiss labor market. Our Differences-in-Differences estimations leverage the fact that regions close to the border were affected more intensely and earlier. In these regions, the employment share of foreign workers grew 10 percentage points in the decade following the reform. We find that the greater availability of cross-border workers increased wages and possibly employment of highly educated native workers although many of the new cross-border workers were also highly educated. These results are the consequence of a simultaneous increase in labor demand: free cross-border mobility increased the size, productivity, and innovation performance of some incumbent firms, attracted new firms, and created opportunities for natives to pursue managerial jobs. Most of these effects are larger in skill-intensive sectors and in firms that experienced skill shortages before the reform. Our results highlight that understanding the labor market effects of immigration requires analyzing the impact on workers and firms jointly.
  • featured in: VoxEU, Corriere del Ticino (italian), Le Temps July 2015, May 2016 (french), Swiss Radio (german)
  • related: Trump's quota adjustment for H-1B Visa Program USA: Tagesanzeiger (german)

  • The supply of foreign talent: How skill-biased technology drives the location choice and skills of new immigrants
  • 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 labour markets. In recent decades, information and com- munication technology [ICT] has fuelled the demand for highly skilled workers at the expense of lower-skill groups. Little is known about how immigrants responded to changing economic oppor- tunities brought about by ICT. Exploiting the fact that different regions in Switzerland have been differentially exposed to ICT changes due to their pre-ICT industrial composition, we present ev- idence 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-skilled immigrants in absolute terms as well as relative to lower-skilled groups. In our most preferred specification, a difference in one standard deviation in initial ICT exposure translated roughly into a 14 percent larger inflow of highly-skilled compared to middle-skilled immigrants. Our results suggest that immigrants’ lo- cation decisions respond strongly to these long-run, technology-driven changes in their economic opportunities. Finally, we analyse whether the response of immigrants to skill demand changed when Switzerland opened the labour market for European workers.
  • 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
  • related: Presentations SGV: The future of work (slides in german, 2016)

  • "Demand Forces of Technical Change: Evidence from the Chinese Manufacturing Industry"
    joint with Franziska Weiss, Fabrizio Zilibotti and Josef Zweimüller
  • forthcoming in the China Economic Review
  • 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.

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