Research area: Economic Theory and Comparative Institutional Economics
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Bertram Schefold, Prof. Dr. Cornelia Storz
Working title: An Inquiry into the `Great Transformation ́ towards Sustainable Development in the light of Karl Polanyi and Douglass North

Captivated by intercultural experiences I accomplished to this date my studies at my alma mater in Münster, Mexico City (ITESM), Paris (Dauphine) and Frankfurt am Main (Goethe University). After having graduated 2011 in Economics (M.Sc.), I started working at KfW Development Bank as Project Manager in charge for international development cooperation programs focused on renewable energy project finance and climate change initiatives on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Development and Economic Cooperation (BMZ).

As former project manager at the KfW Development Bank I had the chance to gather first hand practical project experience in promoting „modernization processes“ in emerging, developing and least developed countries (LDCs). I lead both climate mitigation and financial sector development projects in Colombia, Kenya and DR Congo. Development Cooperation enables countries to modernize and catch up with the welfare per capita of already industrialized countries. One of the flip-sides of „modernization processes“ are, that it can undermine goals of sustainable development by stressing the planetary boundaries further (e.g. anthropocentric climate change). But how should `the future of Development Cooperation ́ in the light of the SDGs then look like, if the current Development Cooperation should be improved? This question lead me back to academia. Today I am a fellow researcher of the Heinrich Böll Foundation (Green Think Tank), which is funding as well my research project. As member of the Cluster „Research on and for the Great Transformation (towards sustainable development)“ the research field of my work can be termed what Jeffrey Sachs called `the Study of Sustainable Development ́ (SSD). This arising new research field will be split in the following into two research streams.

(1) Transformation research questions: investigations to understand in general transformation processes of the economy, and in particular the ongoing transition process towards the „next economy“ – an economy capable to accomplish the goals of „Sustainable Development“.

(2) Transformative (Transition) research questions: investigations for results to promote and to shape the already ongoing Transition towards `Sustainable Development ́ of the economy.

Research question in both research streams require a methodological foundation (“thinking logic”) and interdisciplinary theoretical framework. This represents the core of my work.

Ph.D. Project

“Conceptualization is the beginning to develop, apply and test theories (i.e. scientific practice). This process is bound to a thinking logic or methodological approach (i.e. scientific theory) underlying implicitly or explicitly the scientific practice. This holds as well for the emerging interdisciplinary research field, which will be labeled as the `Study of Sustainable Development ́ (SSD). Thus, the objective of my project is to contribute first to the research field on two basic research levels: (I) the methodological level and (II) the conceptual framework level of the SSD. (III) On basis of this methodological and conceptual foundation work of Douglass North and Karl Polanyi will be discussed hermeneutically.

If you have any question, suggestions or recommendations please do not hesitate to contact me publicly @jq_diaz on twitter or directly via mail to jq.diaz@me.com.

Related projects: Task forces on Conceptual Foundations of ESG and the task force on the methodology for ESG Research.