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Dr. Koen Smet


PublicationsResearch & CV 

I hold a doctoral degree in social and economic sciences (WU Vienna) as well as a master’s degree in management engineering (University of Antwerp).  I am a broadly trained social scientist with extensive interest in economic topics.  My experience with critical/radical political economy allowed me to switch as teaching and research assistant from the Economics Department of the WU Vienna to the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Salzburg and back again.  Although my research endeavours explore different fields of study such as international economics, economic geography and urban economics, uneven development can be identified as overarching leitmotif.

Research Activities

Urban Economics

By combining insights of rent theory with critical/radical political economy, I developed a theoretical framework, which explains the uneven development of housing prices in cities.  In the near future I plan to expand this research field by means of a third-party funded project, which would allow to analyse and to compare housing policies and economic restructuring in Austrian cities (e.g. Salzburg, Innsbruck, Linz, Graz). Together with the participants of the lecture “Project Study – A GPN Perspective on Housing in the City of Salzburg” I wrote a paper on Salzburg’s housing market.  The main aim of the paper is to analyse the land-housing transformation processes, which takes place in a specific temporal and spatial setting.

International Economics – Economic Geography

In my doctoral thesis, I analysed the labour market implications of South Africa’s economic re-integration in the global economy since 1994.  In order to tackle this challenge, I developed a three-dimensional Heckscher-Ohlin trade model, which I subsequently complemented with labour market restrictions.  In a final step, this model was tested by means of econometrics.  My expertise on South Africa’s economy enabled me to co-edited with Joachim Becker a special issue “Southern Africa: 20 Years Post-Apartheid” of the Journal für Entwicklungspolitik.  This issue maps the far reaching political, economic and social consequences of the end of apartheid as well as the heritage of apartheid in the Southern African region. In the context of the FIW-Studienpool, the Economic Geography Team (University of Salzburg) acquired third-party funding to analyse the international expansion of Austria’s pharmaceutical industry.  This study combined insights of trade and FDI theory (e.g. the work of Dunning) to analyse business strategies in a specific industry. In a recent paper Markus Seiwald and I reflected on the impact of mining industries on local communities.  The presented argumentation is embedded in the theoretic framework of GPN.  By comparing Ecuador and South Africa, we display the different roles of government, private actors and the international business environment.  As a result, a differentiated assessment of mining is possible.