ERC Advanced Grants awarded to BSE Research Professors Alberto Martin and Marta Reynal-Querol

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Expanding the list of ERC grants obtained by Barcelona School of Economics Affiliated Professors, Martin will study the efficiency of financial markets in connection with macroeconomic trends, while Reynal-Querol will study the origin of state capacity during the early colonization of Latin America, while.

The European Research Council (ERC) supports the most promising and top researchers across all areas of science, engineering and scholarship in Europe. The ERC developed its ERC Advanced Grant scheme with the aim to foster the research of consolidated group leaders seeking long-term funding to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects.

In the most recent ERC Advanced Grant call, resolved this past April, 253 projects were selected, of which 13 will be developed in Spain. Of these, two new Advanced Grants were awarded to BSE Research Professors: Alberto Martin (CREI, UPF and BSE) and Marta Reynal-Querol (ICREA-UPF and BSE)

Professor Martin received a grant for his project, “Macroeconomic Trends and the Efficiency of Financial Markets,” funded with close to 1.3 million euros. Professor Reynal-Querol obtained a grant to develop her project, “Colonization, Early Institutions and the Origin of State Capacity and Democratization,” with a funding of nearly 2.5 million euros. 

About the new ERC Advanced Grant projects

Alberto Martin, “Macroeconomic Trends and the Efficiency of Financial Markets”


The foundations of the project by Professor Martin rest on the assumption that financial markets are the backbone of modern economies, as a result of their intermediation between lenders and borrowers, leading to a flow of resources towards the actors able to use them productively.

A basis for those exchanges taking place is the confidence of lenders for obtaining resources in the future in exchange for renouncing resources in the present. That confidence is backed by guarantees, which support the credibility of future provision of resources by the borrowers to the lenders in the future. An efficient allocation of resources via financial markets is linked not only to the global stock of those guarantees, but also to their distribution among the relevant sectors, countries and companies.

In that context, the project by Martin will concentrate on three challenges presently facing the global economy: the fall in interest rates, increased market power, and the changing distribution of power across countries.

Marta Reynal-Querol, “Colonization, Early Institutions and the Origin of State Capacity and Democratization”


Much recent work on comparative politics uses large-scale historical events as if they were experimentation laboratories in which the events taken place can be regarded as experiments whose outcomes can be analyzed in order to draw conclusions. Following those lines, the project by Reynalt-Querol will study the origin of democracy and political dynasties, as well as state capacity; that is, the capability of that state to accomplish its policy goals. This will be done considering the colonial conquest of Latin America by the Spanish as a “natural experiment”.

Among the challenges of the project is the difficulty to disentangle the effects of different factors, such as legal aspects, the influence of human capital, and others. The research will leverage the rich documentation provided by the Spanish “Archivo de Indias” as well as the contracts (“capitulaciones”) signed by colonizers before embarking towards America. The focus will be on the early years of colonization of Latin America, when colonizers did not have knowledge of the land to be conquered, nor were any other colonial powers involved.

Read about all ERC projects in the Barcelona School of Economics research community

Media coverage

ERC Advanced Grant Press Release

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