Department: ZEF B

ZEF B: Department of Economic and Technological Change

The research focus of ZEF's Department of Economic and Technological Change is on sustainable economic growth, and reduction of inequality and extreme poverty. The current research program includes global, national multi-country, and local research on food and nutrition security and health and sanitation policies, bio-economy, climate economics, institutional issues and economics of water, land and soil and forestry policies, energy, human capital and migration, governance and international sustainability policy, science and technology policy, and market and price volatility issues. Analytical approaches and methods developed and applied by the team include modeling sectors and economies, systems analyses, econometrics, household and community modeling, collective actions analyses. The department applies economics in an interdisciplinary way, with other social sciences, ecology and the management of natural resources. Many projects have a strong focus on household and community level micro data and intra-household and gender perspectives. Research projects are in partnership with many development institutes in Asia, South America and Africa. The team combines original research with policy and program impact analyses and active outreach to policy.

The graph shows spheres of marginalization. (Source: von Braun, J. and Gatzweiler, F.W. 2014. Marginality. Addressing the Nexus of Poverty, Exclusion and Ecology. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 31,


Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim


Department Competencies

Economic change and vulnerability

ZEF research in this area covers topics such as Volatility in Commodity Markets, Decentralization and poverty reduction.

Global development and trade

The objectives of a set of projects under this theme is to investigate the drivers and causes of price volatility, the transmission to regional, national and micro‐level, the impact on poor people as well as regulatory instruments to reduce volatility.

Growth, inequality and poverty

The number of people living on less than 1$ a day and suffering from hunger worldwide has decreased  since the Millennium Development Goals were set into action in 2000.