Main Focus

  • The history of European integration, in particular the history of EU competition law
  • Quantitative intellectual history
  • Business History, with a focus on the ‘Third Reich’
  • Digital Humanities, in particular Text Mining methods

Anselm Küsters’ work on economic and legal history revolves around the question to which extent specific historical lessons and schools of thought have influenced policy makers in their decision-making. His M.Phil. thesis examined the annual reports of the German Council of Economic Experts (1964-2017) by applying a computational text mining technique and concluded that ordoliberal thought was not permanently present in German economic policy advice, but that certain ordoliberal ideas have been reactivated during times of domestic crises.

In a related paper, Anselm tested Barry Eichengreen’s recent hypothesis that during the Great Recession economic and political elites used lessons from the past in their decision-making. The paper explores quantitatively all 1009 speeches given by ECB Executive Board members between 2007 and 2015. It is argued that some of the Board’s economists paid tribute to a cultural preference for price stability and balanced budgets that was grounded in specific German lessons from the interwar period.

His current research at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History aims to contribute to the clarification of the ordoliberal influence on EU competition policy by examining the competition law publications of the European Commission. Drawing on new quantitative text analysis methods from the field of Digital Humanities, the dissertation project shifts the focus from the alleged influence of ordoliberalism on the genesis and formulation of EU competition law to an examination of the actual relevance and dissemination of ordoliberal concepts in EU competition policy.

Completed Project

Curriculum Vitae

Anselm Küsters was born in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. After graduating from the Faust-Gymnasium Staufen, he studied History, German Literature and Economics at the University of Heidelberg, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.). He continued his studies in the Master’s program Economic and Social History at Oxford University, UK. In 2018, he graduated with a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) and moved to Frankfurt, where he is now conducting his PhD research at the mpilhlt.

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