Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 4, D-60323 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

preussler@econ.uni-frankfurt.de | +49 (69) 798-34823

My research is on human resources, organizational and personnel economics. I carry out randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with and within firms and analyze observational career and promotion data. I also do applied theory on careers and talent management. My second main field of interest is how institutions shape the accumulation and allocation of human capital, focusing on problems of families, gender, and migration.

I am a fellow at CEPR, IZA, and a VP of SIOE, a founding member of the Organizational Economics Committee of the German Economic Association (VfS), a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Sciences Po, and of ConTrust at Goethe University. I am also Scientific Director of CLBO.

Before joining Goethe, I held positions at the Toulouse School of Economics and EHESS, and at SITE, Stockholm School of Economics.

Link to my CV

Link to my Google Scholar site

Currently working on


Workplace Harassment Risk, Non-disclosure Regulation, and Information Exchange in Firms

(with Yuping Jia, Xiang Zheng, Menghan Zhu)

We study the effects of regulation of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) between firms and employees. We argue that laws that limit the use of NDAs (i) reduce harassment-related frictions in social interactions between employees and (ii) improve information exchange in firms. Empirically, we find that legal insider trading becomes more profitable and firm value increases. The effects of the laws are stronger for individuals with high frictions in their social networks and for firms with high reliance on private communication. In contrast, the effects of anti-NDAs are muted in regions with stronger prevailing conflicting social norms.

Terrorism and Voting: The Rise of Right-Wing Populism in Germany (with Marius Liebald and Navid Sabet)


Can terrorism shift voting outcomes, individual opinions, and party programs? Exploiting quasi-random variation between successful and failed terror attacks across German municipalities, we find that successful attacks lead to significant increases in the vote share for the right-wing, populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party in state elections. Successful attacks lead to differential increases in turnout which are mainly captured by the AfD; by contrast, the vote share for the ruling party decreases significantly. Using the German SOEP, we find that people who reside in areas with successful attacks identify as more right-wing, prefer the AfD more and the ruling party less, and are more worried about migration and social cohesion. These results hold despite the fact that most attacks are targeted against migrantsby right-wing nationalists. The AfD responds to attacks by speaking more about asylum, crime and Islam in its election manifestos at the state level. All other parties shift in the opposite direction.


Knowledge Teams, Careers, and Gender (with Cagatay Bircan and Tristan Stahl)

We use rich data on personnel records, work assignments, and performance from a financial institution to uncover the mechanisms that lead to promotion gaps in knowl- edge work. We find a substantial promotion gap for women, which emerges early in their careers and leads to under-representation of senior women. Bankers work in multiple project teams concurrently and take on team leadership roles occasionally. Analyzing over 10,000 investment projects, we find that assignments to the job of team leader, which provide visibility to the upper echelons of the organization, are crucial for careers. Assignments to these jobs are carried out by supervisors and favors men.





New Publications

What do Employee Referral Programs (ERPs) Do? Measuring the Direct and Overall Effects of a Management Practice (with Matthias Heinz, Mitchell Hoffman and Nick Zubanov), forthcoming, Journal of Political Economy

Employee referral programs (ERPs) are randomly introduced in a grocery chain. On direct effects, larger referral bonuses increase referral quantity but decrease quality, though the increase in referrals from ERPs is modest. However, the overall effect of having an ERP is substantial, reducing attrition by 15% and significantly decreasing labor costs. This occurs, partly, because referrals stay longer than non-referrals, but, mainly, from indirect effects: non-referrals stay longer in treated than in control stores. The most-supported mechanism for these indirect effects is workers value being involved in hiring. Attrition impacts are larger in higher-performing stores and better local labor markets.

May 2022

Underrepresentation of Women in the Economics Profession More Pronounced in the United States Compared to Heterogeneous Europe (with Emmanuelle Auriol, Alisa Weinberger and Sascha Wilhelm), PNAS https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2118853119

Based on a dataset that we collected from the top research institutions in economics around the globe (including universities, business schools, and other organizations, such as central banks), we document the underrepresentation of women in economics. For the 238 universities and business schools in the sample, women hold 25% of senior-level positions (full professor or associate professor) and 37% of junior-level positions. In the 82 US universities and business schools, the figures are 20% on the senior level and 32% on the entry level, while in the 122 European institutions, the numbers are 27% and 38%, respectively, with some heterogeneity across countries. The numbers also show that the highest-ranking institutions (in terms of research output) have fewer women in senior positions. Moreover, in the United States, this effect is even present on the junior level. The “leaky pipeline” may hence begin earlier than oftentimes assumed and is even more of an issue in the highly integrated market of the United States. In Europe, an institution ranked 100 places higher has 3 percentage points fewer women in senior positions, but in the United States, it is almost 5 percentage points.

April 2022

The Long-term Consequences of a Pay Change (with Miriam Krüger), forthcoming, Journal of Labor Economics, doi.org/10.1086/717728

In a professional services firm, top management unexpectedly adjusted the pay of consultants in some divisions to the pay in other divisions. In this quasi-experiment, fixed wages increased and bonuses decreased, reducing pay for the high and increasing it for the low performers. Individual outputs and efforts decreased by 30%, and attrition and absenteeism increased. The effects are driven by those who were rationally expecting to lose from the pay change. Observing a period of more than three years, we show long-term negative reciprocity of those affected, but no negative selection effects of new hires.

December 2021

Gender Differences in Social Interactions (with Marie Lalanne, Bernard Richter, Peter Schwardmann and Paul Seabright), 2021, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 186, 33-45, doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2021.03.016

How does the random assignment of new students to introductory-week groups shape subsequent friendship networks? Both women and men report being much more likely to be friends with same-gender students of the group they spent their first week on campus with. The effect is much stronger for women. When students from the same cohort play a repeated trust game in the experimental laboratory, their behavior helps explain these field observations. Women display more stability and less flexibility than men in their interactions with individuals with whom they had previously played. This difference is enough to generate homophily in the observational data even though subjects show no intrinsic preference for same-gender interaction.

June 2021