Felix Rusche

Felix Rusche

PhD candidate in Economics

University of Mannheim

Biography

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Mannheim and a member of the Bonn-Mannheim Collaborative Research Center, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). As an Applied Micro-Economist, my research spans Labor Economics, Development Economics, and Political Economy, with a particular interest in mass and social media.

I hold a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Mannheim and a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Economics from Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences. During my studies, I spent time at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa and Bocconi University, Italy. In 2023, I also completed a research stay at Universitat Pompeou Fabra, Spain.

Interests

  • Applied Microeconomics
  • Labor Economics
  • Development Economics
  • Political Economy

Working Papers

LinkedOut? A Field Experiment on Discrimination in Job Network Formation

with Yulia Evsyukova and Wladislaw Mill

R&R at Quarterly Journal of Economics

We assess the impact of discrimination on Black individuals’ job networks in the U.S. using a two-stage field experiment with 400+ fictitious LinkedIn profiles. Varying race via A.I.-generated images only, we find that Black profiles’ connection requests are accepted at significantly lower rates (Stage I) and their networks provide less information (Stage II). We leverage our experimental design to eliminate first-stage endogeneity and identify gatekeeping as the key driver of Black-White disparities. Based on users’ CVs we find widespread discrimination across different social groups with heterogeneity unanticipated by experts.

Working Paper Press Release

Work in Progress

Broadcasting Change: India’s Community Radio Policy and Women’s Empowerment

I examine whether grassroots media can serve as a policy for development. Specifically, I investigate India’s 2006 community radio policy which permits educational institutions and NGOs to obtain radio licenses with the purpose of promoting local development. I collect unique data on the content and coverage areas of >250 radios. Through topic modelling and GPT-based content analysis, women’s empowerment is revealed as a key theme in radio programming. To identify the effects of radio on women’s empowerment, I leverage topography-driven variation in radio access in combination with a novel approach to reduce attenuation bias in randomly jittered survey coordinates. The results show that exogenous exposure to community radio enhances girls’ education, delays marriage, reduces fertility, and increases young women’s autonomy.

Poster (ASSA/AEA 2024)

Dissecting Media Bias: Daily Stock Market Performance in the News

with Antonio Ciccone

Publications

Few voices, strong echo: Measuring follower homogeneity of politicians’ Twitter accounts

New Media & Society, 2024

Politicians have discovered Twitter as a tool for political communication. If information provided by politicians is circulated in ideologically segregated user networks, political polarization may be fostered. Using network information on all 1.78 million unique followers of German Members of Parliament by October 2018, follower homogeneity across politicians and parties is measured. While the overall homogeneity is low, politicians of the AfD —a right-wing populist party —stand out with very homogeneous follower networks. These are largely driven by a small group of strongly committed partisans that make up around 7 percent of the party’s but around 55-75 percent of the average AfD politician’s followers. The findings add to the literature by showing potentially unequal distributions of network segregation on Twitter. Further, they suggest that small groups of active users can multiply their influence online, which has important implications for future research on echo chambers and other online phenomena.

Paper

Presentations

2024

ASSA/AEA 2024 Annual Meeting (San Antonio), Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Economic Seminars, Asia Meeting of The Econometric Society, Europe Meeting of the Econometric Society (scheduled), Royal Economic Society Annual Conference, ifo Digital Transformation & Innovation Seminar, CRC TR224 Young Researchers Workshop (Bonn & Mannheim), Joachim Herz Foundation

2023

NBER Summer Institute: Labor Studies, Advances with Field Experiments (University of Chicago), 3rd Discrimination and Diversity Workshop (Loughborough, East Anglia, Exeter), London Business School Transatlantic Doctoral Conference, Nordic Conference in Development Economics, German Development Economics Conference, German Economic Association Annual Conference, Barcelona School of Economics PhD Jamboree (UPF & UAB), Universitat Pompeou Fabra (Internal Applied & PhD Seminar), CRC TR224 Retreat (Bonn & Mannheim), HeiKaMaXY Workshop (Heidelberg)

2022

CRC TR224 Young Researchers Workshop (Bonn & Mannheim), 1st Frankfurt-Mannheim PhD Workshop

2019-21

Bonn-Mannheim PhD Workshop (2020), ZEW Conference on the Economics of Information and Communication Technologies (2019)

Teaching

Microeconomics B

TA: Fall 2021

Introduction to Econometrics

TA: Spring 2021

Other Work

Chapter 17: Large Language Model APIs (June 2024)

in APIs for social scientists: A collaborative review (Editors: Paul C. Bauer, Camille Landesvatter, and Lion Behrens)

A short introduction to API calls to OpenAI’s and Ollama’s Large Language Models using R.

Chapter Book