Dr. Thieß Petersen
Senior Advisor,
Bertelsmann Stiftung

Thieß joined the Bertelsmann Stiftung in 2004. As a senior advisor with the project Global Economic Dynamics (GED) he specializes on macro-economic studies and economics. He is currently concentrating on the causes and effects of financial and economic crises, the chances and risks of globalisation and the public debt and euro crisis.

Thieß studied economics in Paderborn and Kiel, Germany. He then took up a position as a research assistant with the Institute for Theoretical Economics at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel, Germany. He then became a research assistant and economics lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences in Heide, Germany.

Thieß was a project adviser with the DAG-Forum Schleswig-Holstein (then called ver.di-Forum Nord) in Kiel and later became its managing director.

In addition to his work for the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Thieß is a lecturer at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), where he specializes on micro and macro economics.

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Published Posts by Dr. Thieß Petersen
Photo by Wellington Rodrigues on Unsplash Photo by Wellington Rodrigues on Unsplash

Economic Development in Africa
Is demographic change an opportunity for Africa's economies?


  Africa is one of the poorest regions in the world. But with the fastest growing population in the world, and the availability of natural resources African nations can capitalize on this opportunity for growth. Learn in this post how Africa’s economies can profit from demographic change. According to United Nations projections, Africa’s population will […] More ...

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10 Years after the Financial Crisis - Quo vadis, Italy?
5 charts showing Italy's economic development since the Lehman bankruptcy


The Lehman bankruptcy plunged the global economy into a severe recession. While Germany quickly recovered from the financial crisis, Southern European countries suffered a further decline in their economic output in 2012 and 2013. After Greece, Italy suffers the most from the aftermath of these two economic slumps. The Italian economy today faces numerous economic […] More ...

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10 Years after Lehman – Psychological Causes of a Speculative Bubble (Part 3)
What are the psychological causes of a speculative bubble?


In the first and second part of the series I dealt with the monetary causes of the Lehman bankruptcy and the associated collapse of the world economy. This blog post deals with the psychological roots of these bubbles. Speculation is to a large extent a psychological phenomenon Speculative bubbles have been around since people started […] More ...

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10 Years after Lehman - Is an Economic Crisis on the Horizon? (Part 2)
Economic Crisis: Where are we today?


In the last blog I showed what the basic pattern of serious economic crises looks like. In the past, such economic slumps were often triggered by a burst of speculative bubbles. In this post you get insights on the prerequisites of speculative bubbles.   An important prerequisite for a speculative bubble – high liquidity – is […] More ...

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10 Years after Lehman – Does another Economic Crisis loom? (Part 1)
What are the central causes of an economic crisis?


In September 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers triggered the worst economic slump since the global economic crisis in the 1930s. Both crises were triggered by the bursting of a speculative bubble and the associated stock market crash. Unfortunately, the basic conditions for such a crash are once again in place.  Learn in this post […] More ...

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

The Global Economic Balance of Power is Shifting
Will the emerging and developing countries replace the advanced economies?


In recent years, GDP has grown at much higher rates in emerging markets such as China and India than in Western industrialised countries. In the advanced economies, fears of being replaced are increasing. This may be true in the long term, but in the near future, industrialised nations of the West will remain those with the greatest economic power. More ...

Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

7 Risks for the Global Economy
Why we should not rely on sustained economic growth


After the global economy experienced a small dip in growth in 2016, the world's real gross domestic product (GDP) has been growing slightly more strongly since 2017. At present, most projections assume that the global economy could continue to grow by around four percent in the coming years. However, there are also numerous risks that endanger this growth process. More ...

Balance of Trade Photo by Kyle Ryan on Unsplash

The Anatomy of the U.S. Balance of Trade
Why are Trade Sanctions mainly directed against China and the EU?


  Already during the election campaign Donald Trump had announced protectionist measures to reduce the high trade deficit of the U.S. Since March 2018 at the latest, this announcement has taken on ever more concrete form. The trade sanctions were initially mainly directed against China. But the European Union (EU) will not be spared either. […] More ...

My Life Graphic / Shutterstock Images My Life Graphic / Shutterstock Images

Globalization Report 2018: What about the NAFTA Countries?
Interconnectedness of the three countries beyond the FIFA World Cup 2026


The FIFA World Cup 2026 will take place in the three member states of the North-American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) – Mexico, Canada and the United States. This was officially announced today (June 13th, 2018). This huge event will certainly enhance the international interconnectedness of the three countries not only in the fields of sports, but also in many other areas. We take this as an occasion to look at the level of globalization the three NAFTA members have reached already and how much they have benefitted so far from increasing international interconnectedness. We base this analysis on our “Globalization Report 2018“ which we published last week (June 8th, 2018). More ...

My Life Graphic / Shutterstock Images My Life Graphic / Shutterstock Images

Globalization Report 2018: What about the BRICS countries?
Why are they not the main profiteers?


In terms of real gross domestic product (GDP) per capital, industrialized economies are the biggest winners of increasing globalization. Why are the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) , some of which are regarded as the engines of globalization, not the main profiteers? This is the question we are looking into in this blog post. More ...

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Globalization Report 2018: Who Benefits Most from Globalization?
For the 3rd time in a row – industrialized countries are biggest winners in globalization


The main question in the “Globalization Report 2018” is: What impact did the increase in globalization between 1990 and 2016 have on real – i.e. inflation-adjusted – GDP per capita in the 42 countries analyzed. This indicator was chosen because it is more meaningful for the prosperity of citizens than the GDP of the economy as a whole. More ...

Photo by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash Photo by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash

Economic Globalization: Time to Make It More Inclusive
Compensating economic losers is a key challenge for future global economic development.


As in the previous reports, we can show that globalization and international trade have positive impacts on economic growth in the participating economies. At the same time, this does not imply that every single person or region benefits. Compensating the economic losers from globalization and international trade is a key challenge for the future global economic development. More ...

Donald Trump Donald Trump, Gage Skidmore @Flickr.com

GED Explains: Import Tariffs vs. Import Quotas
Why Import Quotas have the Same Effects as Tariffs on Imports


The US government has postponed the introduction of punitive tariffs on European products such as steel and aluminium for the time being. But instead, they are now considering restricting the volume of exports from Europe through an import quota. In general, such import quotas have the same effects as tariffs on imports, leading to higher […] More ...

Stacks of shipping containers in the Port of Barcelona Igor Ovsyannykov @Unsplash.com

Consequences of Punitive Tariffs
What Does History Tell Us?


The historical examples show: politicians and bureaucrats initially find trade barriers to be a suitable means of protecting the domestic economy or certain sectors from foreign competition. However, the economy as a whole suffers over the long term. This also applies to the protected sectors: The necessary adjustments are not made there so international competitiveness continually declines. Compounding the problem, countermeasures adopted by the affected trading partners, cause additional damage to the domestic economy. More ...

Euro Symbol outside ECB. MPD01605 @Flickr.com Euro Symbol outside ECB. MPD01605 @Flickr.com

GED Explains: Target Balances and Trade Imbalances
What do the sharp rises in target balances mean and how did this happen?


  The Target system is a payment system that clears payments within the Eurosystem (European Central Bank and national central banks). The balances of the national central banks connected to this payment system were more or less zero in the early years. However, there have been sharp rises in Target balances since the financial and […] More ...

Alex Staroseltsev @ Shutterstock Alex Staroseltsev @ Shutterstock

Structural Changes, Productivity and Foreign Trade
What are the challenges for developed industrialized nations?


As part of the economic development process, service sectors in industrialized nations such as Germany have long since established themselves as the most important economic sectors. However, productivity increases in the service sector have been weaker than those in the manufacturing sector. This raises income inequality. Increasing international trade in services could serve to intensify this trend further. More ...

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The Global Impact of a Protectionist US Trade Policy
What can theory tell us about how Trump's trade policy might affect the world economy?


Since the election of Donald Trump, there has been a growing danger that U.S. trade policy increasingly relies on protectionist measures. The aim of this policy is to secure jobs and income in its own country. In reality, however, protectionist measures mean that the weakening of international trade triggered by the U.S. is leading to a loss of income worldwide, especially in the U.S. More ...

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The FED, the Dollar and the Global Economy
How US interest rates have far reaching economic consequences for the rest of the world!


In December 2015 the U.S. Federal Reserve (FED) raised interest rates for the first time since 2008. It has also continued to hike interest rates since then, with the last rate hike being in June 2017. The FED's interest rate policy has far-reaching consequences, not just for the American economy, but also for the entire global economy. More ...

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Populist economic policy - what does it mean for the global economy?
What are the typical signs of populist economic policies and how will they affect us in the long run?


A populist economic policy aims to offer citizens a life beyond their current means. The costs of this short-term increase in prosperity are inflicted on future generations. This article describes what macroeconomic consequences can be expected if large industrial nations such as the US pursue this path in their economic policy. More ...

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Why the USA Needs a Current Account Deficit
Could Trump's protectionist plans be doubly harmful?


Once he has taken office in January 2017, Donald Trump is planning to implement protectionist measures in order to reduce the American current account deficit and thus boost the US economy. In this post we will show that the USA actually needs a current account deficit at the moment. This is the only way of financing the high level of consumption and investment. More ...

Montage Global Panorama and knowmadic news @ flickr.com Montage Global Panorama and knowmadic news @ flickr.com

US-China Relations – The Next Big Issue for America’s New President
Is China stealing America's spotlight?


Trump vs. Clinton – On 8th November, the USA elects a new president. During the campaign, China was portrayed as the embodiment of globalization trends and held responsible for what appear to be the increasingly negative effects of globalization on the USA’s economy. Will the USA, once the most prominent champion of free trade, become drawn into a downward spiral of protectionism? More ...

Montage - Seb Zurcher and Miriam Corcuera @ unsplash.com Montage - Seb Zurcher and Miriam Corcuera @ unsplash.com

Are Developed Countries Leaving the Rest of the World Behind?
A look at globalization and its consequences for global inequality


Increasing globalization has boosted economic growth around the world in the last few decades. These growth rates have always been higher in emerging countries than they have in developed industrialized nations, but what impact has globalization had on income differences between emerging and industrialized countries? More ...

Danielle Scott / flickr.com Danielle Scott / flickr.com

5 Reasons for the Global Trade Slowdown


Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the volume of global trade has been characterized in part by double-digit growth rates. Yet evidence shows that this growth has declined steeply since 2012. This piece examines the reasons for the decreasing dynamism of global trade. More ...

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Study: Wage-setting Strategies for the Eurozone


  In a recent blog post we showed that the upturn of the German economy between 2000 and 2009 was primarily due to a restrictive wage policy. Our newest study seeks to answer the question whether this strategy could work for the crisis-ridden southern European countries. We look at three different wage-setting scenarios:   Reference […] More ...

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2016: A World still in Crisis Mode


Part two of our economic outlook for 2016 looks at which crises might still lay ahead of us and which uncertainty factors need considering when staying on the road to recovery. More ...

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Germany: From “Sick Man of Europe” to “Economic Superstar”
What are the main reasons behind this development and what is the price of economic success


During the early years of the new millennium, Germany was considered to be the “sick man of Europe”, yet since then, it has become the strongest economy on the European continent. This article describes the main reasons behind this development and in doing so also dis-cusses the price of economic success. More ...

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Nobody Wins with BREXIT
Dynamic Welfare Effects of Brexit Negative for all 28 EU Countries


Since the threat of a Grexit has been averted for the time being, a possible exit of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) poses the next danger for European integration. In our study “Costs and benefits of a United Kingdom exit from the European Union” from April 2015, we analyzed the static effects of a Brexit. We were able to show that due to less cross-border trade activities all 28 EU countries would suffer from lower economic growth. Now we calculated the dynamic growth effects of a Brexit. Again, all 28 economies would be faced with lower growth rates. Growth losses would be even larger than in the case of static effects only More ...

Shutterstock / corgarashu Shutterstock / corgarashu

Growing Income Inequality – a Brake on Economic Growth?


For more than 30 years we have observed a growing inequality in income distribution in almost all developed countries. Whether this trend promotes or hinders economic growth, however, is not entirely clear. This post looks at the economic theory behind this important question. More ...

Blogpost Titelbild: a route to growth xtock / Shutterstock Images

Impulse #2015/04: Fiscal Devaluation – a Route to More Growth?


The global economy faces a number of economic challenges: Economic growth in most industrialized nations is slowing, the crisis-hit countries of Southern Europe are suffering the effects of low competiveness and, even in some G7 countries, sovereign debt has reached levels in excess of 100 percent of gross domestic product. This paper looks at the method of fiscal devaluation as a way to boost economic growth without increasing government debt. More ...

Blogpost Titelbild: a route to growth xtock / Shutterstock Images

Should G7 Contemplate Fiscal Devaluation as a Route to More Growth?


On June 7th and 8th the heads of state and governments of the seven most important industrialised countries will meet for the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau. One question that will be addressed is how to increase economic growth and employment. To tackle this task, G7 states will have to overcome several severe challenges. This blogpost aims to shed light on one possible solution to those challenges: fiscal devaluation. More ...

Photo showing a supermarket shelf with the names of different countries © flickr/Esther Dyson

On the Lookout for Alternatives


In our last post we had a look at how digitalization and globalization cause income disparity in the developed world to rise. This time around we want to take a shot at predicting how these dynamics could shape the future. Based on the work of Jeremy Rifkin, Michael Spence, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee it seems likely, that the combined effects of globalization and digitalization will have three main consequences. More ...

Picture of a globe on a keyboard to visualise the topic of the post

The Divisive Powers of the Digital and the Global


The GED team has been trying hard to get their heads around the effects of digitalization and globalization. We have been trying to trace how these interesting bedfellows have worked hard to drag down equality in the developed world. More ...

Picture showing one Euro coin with a the European flag in the background

Study: How Germany Benefits from the Euro in Economic Terms


Since the advent of the European sovereign debt crisis German citizens have voiced mounting criticism of the European Monetary Union and of the euro. However, German economic growth and indeed the German labour market both benefit to a considerable extent from the euro. More ...

GED Studie Maastricht_2_0

Study: Maastricht 2.0
Proposed Reform of EU Sovereign Debt Rules


  Growing sovereign debt within in European Union turns out to be an increasing burden for the entire EU and the Euro. Thus Europe urgently needs long-term fiscal policies designed to reduce government debt to manageable levels and at the same time to promote a stable kind of economic development. More ...