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Prof. Tom Zimmermann, PhD

Cluster position Investigator

Cluster member since 2019

Research areas

Main research topics

Empirical macroeconomics, finance and data science


Tom Zimmermann is a Professor in Economics at the University of Cologne and member of the Center for Financial Research Cologne. Before he took over the professorship he worked for the Federal Reserve Board in Washington. He studied Economics in Bonn and received his PhD and MA in Economics from Harvard University.


Published papers

Discussion papers


What is the best thing about your job?

Dealing with topics that I am interested in on a daily basis, together with people who are also interested in them. Especially in teaching, I always meet young people with good ideas – that’s very enriching.

If you had not gone into research, what would you be doing today?

I would probably still work at a central bank. If I had had to choose a different field of study, it would actually have been law. Especially in the context of machine learning, I find legal regulation topics very exciting.

Who or what inspires you?

Exciting data and conversations with colleagues.

When was the last time you had to change your mind?

Just the other day on the subject of Covid 19 and vaccination: I let myself be dissuaded from the thesis that perhaps men should be vaccinated first because the mortality rate is higher among male patients. That may just be due to selection in the data, since women, for example, simply go to the doctor earlier. So looking behind the data forces you to change your mind sometimes.

Which advice would you have needed yourself as a doctoral student?

“It’s not so bad, it’ll be fine.” Doctoral studies can be quite a dry spell in life when others are moving forward professionally or personally and you are still studying. That’s why my second advice would be not to drag on your studies too long unnecessarily.