Research on intergenerational redistribution | EurekAlert!


Image: Professor Johannes Brumm (left, photo: private source) and junior professor Matti Schneider (right, photo: private source) each receive an ERC Starting Grant.
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Source: Private sources Johannes Brumm & Matti Schneider

Should the debt accumulated during the COVID-19 crisis be quickly reduced through taxation, or is it advisable to leave this to future generations in view of the low real interest rates? How can we ensure that the pension system distributes demographic and other risks more equitably across different generations? Professor Johannes Brumm, holder of the professorship for macroeconomics at the KIT Institute for Economics, deals with questions like these in his funded project. “The impact of political decisions on national debt, taxes and spending extends over decades,” explains Brumm. “Therefore, whether intentional or not, they spread resources and risks across generations.” The benefits and costs of policies are subject to great uncertainty as they depend, among other things, on productivity growth, global financial conditions and demographic trends. So-called SOLG models (Stochastic Overlapping Generations models) make it possible to analyze the effects of economic policy decisions on different generations, taking uncertainties into account. In his project “SOLG for Policy”, Brumm is initially working on further developing numerical methods for solving high-dimensional SOLG models in order to be able to include the decisive sources of uncertainty. He then quantitatively analyzes the costs and benefits of government economic policy decisions, debt and pension reforms for present and future generations.

New method enables efficient and precise simulation of microstructures

In order to be able to precisely control the properties of modern materials, various components with favorable properties are combined to form composite materials. The experimental characterization of these materials often requires a lot of time and money. As a remedy, simulations on a digital twin of the real microstructure replace some of the measurements. “We are faced with a great challenge,” explains Matti Schneider, junior professor for numerical micromechanics at the Institute for Technical Mechanics of KIT. “We want to measure properties of the material, but determine results that depend on boundary conditions. It’s a bit like in quantum mechanics, where the measurement can change the state. Extracting part of the material makes it more difficult to measure its behavior.” But the extraction process cannot be avoided.” In his BeyondRVE project, Schneider will investigate breakthrough new techniques to compensate for these edge effects by modifying the static momentum balance. This approach promises a technological advance for efficient and precise material simulations. Production-related fluctuations in the material properties can thus be determined more precisely. Lightweight construction technologies in particular will benefit from the developed methodology.

ERC Starting Grants 2021

With Starting Grants, the European Research Council (ERC) supports excellent young scientists who want to start their own independent careers and set up their own research groups. The selected projects will be funded for five years with up to 1.5 million euros each. In the 2021 call for applications, the ERC awarded Starting Grants for a total of 397 projects in 22 countries with a total volume of 619 million euros. A total of 4066 applications were received; the approval rate was around 9.8 percent.

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