Meet Our Alumni: “CERGE-EI Gave Me the Necessary Tools to Conduct Research,” says Jaroslav Groero.

Jaroslav Groero, our recent PhD in Economics graduate, and a Postdoctoral Researcher at Masaryk University, discusses his research interests and reflects on his internship experience at OECD in the latest alumni interview. Our PhD student Mari Mtchedlishvili conducted the interview.

You recently completed the defense of your dissertation on “Essays on Genoeconomics.”  Could you provide an overview of your work? What motivated you to explore this field? Were there any unexpected findings or challenges you encountered during your research process?

My dissertation focuses on the interaction between genetic endowment and environments or investments into human capital. Specifically, I focus on whether socioeconomic factors can moderate or reinforce the role genes have on important human outcomes such as health or risk tolerance.

I started to do research in this field a few years ago when my supervisor, Nikolas Mittag, proposed for me to work on this topic. It is an exciting new area of research with many possibilities to contribute to literature. However, in the beginning there were some challenges related to the fact that this field combines knowledge from economics with genetics. I had to learn some new terminology and techniques used in quantitative genetic data analysis.

Can you discuss any potential practical applications or implications of your genoeconomics research in the real world?

Findings of this research can be used to better design policies that aim to help disadvantaged groups or decrease innate inequalities.

Since March 2023, you have been a Postdoctoral Researcher at Masaryk University. How would you evaluate your first month in this position and what are your current research interests? How do they relate to your previous work?

I enjoy working at ESF MUNI (Faculty of Economics and Administration, Masaryk University) as a health economics researcher. I am basically continuing with my research that I conducted in my dissertation. I am still focusing on life cycle and human capital formation models, which is the field where I think genetic data can bring some more insight.

You have been a Trainee at OECD. Could you tell us about your time there? Did your work at OECD influence any aspects of your dissertation or future research interests?

At OECD, I worked in the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and regions, entirely different focus from what I had been doing in my research. After the internship, I went back to my type of research. However, I learned many new techniques in programming, met many interesting people, and experienced how the more applied research is done in a large policy institute. It was a great experience.

How has your experience at CERGE-EI influenced your academic and professional development?

CERGE-EI gave me the tools necessary to conduct research. I developed critical and analytical thinking and learned a vast number of useful techniques. Moreover, I consider myself lucky that I could work with Nikolas Mittag, who was my supervisor and who helped me refine my technical skills and ability to do research and write scientific papers. It was, and still is, exciting to talk to him about science, research, and other topics.


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