Peter Tóth, a CERGE-EI 2014 PhD in Economics graduate, works as a researcher at the National Bank of Slovakia and at the University of Economics in Bratislava. In a blog interview, we talked about his research projects and about his engagement as an Alumni local group leader for Slovakia, Hungary, and Austria.
You studied International Trade and Political Science prior to coming to CERGE-EI. Why did you choose to take a PhD in Economics program at CERGE-EI?
During my prior studies, I came to realize that empirical analysis of data and application of quantitative methods in economics is really my cup of tea. To move forward in this direction, the most feasible option for me at that time was to take the PhD in Economics program at CERGE-EI.
You worked for Czech National Bank, Institute for Financial Policy, at Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic. Now you work as a researcher at the National Bank of Slovakia and at the University of Economics in Bratislava. Why did you go for a research career?
I already wanted to become a researcher upon joining CERGE-EI. I remember writing this in my motivation letter for the application. In my jobs at CNB and IFP, most of my workload was policy agenda related to macroeconomic forecasting with limited time available for applied research. I could shift my focus towards research only after joining the Research Department of the National Bank of Slovakia. Since my recent engagement at the University of Economics, I am participating in new research projects with colleagues from academia and I will get back to a bit of teaching after a long break.
What research projects are you currently working on? What do you find the most interesting at your work?
Currently, I work with household finance data collected by our bank. We study the link between subjective wellbeing, household finances, and inequality. In another project, we are developing a weekly indicator of economic growth for Slovakia, which is based on cooperation with the European System of Central Banks. What is most interesting about my work is that research topics are closely connected to economic policies. I also enjoy working with a variety of datasets and applying quantitative methods. Generally, what is appealing about research to me are the small everyday steps that take one to a final product, a research paper, after months or years of perseverance. In addition, one can always work on new and challenging topics.
Together with our MA alumna Kristína Jablonická, you are volunteering as an Alumni local group leader for Slovakia, Hungary, and Austria. Why did you decide to take part in this initiative? What are your plans with the alumni local group?
The group of CERGE-EI alumni based in Slovakia and neighboring countries has grown large enough to become a more organized network. It would be nice to keep in touch, meet each other once in a while, and make new connections.
What do you perceive as the strongest message CERGE-EI gives to its students?
CERGE-EI gives the message that becoming a top-notch economist is difficult, but here’s how to do it. 🙂