Fields of study
I am a versatile policy analyst and applied economist. In addition to working in academia at Oxford, Leiden, and Harvard, I consulted for the OECD, World Bank, and Global Fund. I have expertise in analysing, advising, and managing projects on social protection; labour market outcomes; health education; and the allocation of development assistance in OECD as well as developing countries.
- Nolan, B., Roser, M., Thewissen, S. (forthcoming) “GDP per capita versus median household income: What gives rise to divergence over time?” Review of Income and Wealth
- Thewissen, S. , Van Vliet, O., Wang, C. (forthcoming) “Sectoral trends in earnings inequality and employment: International trade, skill-biased technological change, or labour market institutions?“, Social Indicators Research
- Thewissen, S., Van Vliet, O. (forthcoming) “Competing with the dragon: Employment and wage effects of Chinese trade competition in 17 sectors across 18 OECD countries“, Political Science Research & Methods
- See replication data here
- Thewissen, S., Rueda, D. (forthcoming) “Automation and the welfare state: Technological change as a determinant of redistribution preferences“, Comparative Political Studies
- See replication data here
- Rueda, D., Thewissen, S. (forthcoming) “Automated but compensated? Technological change and redistribution in advanced democracies”, in Paus, E. (ed) Emerging dystopias? Confronting the new technological revolution and the future of work, Cornell University Press)
- Nolan, B., Thewissen, S. (forthcoming) ‘The evolution of living standards for middle and lower income households in OECD countries’, in Nolan, B. (ed) ‘Generating prosperity for working families in affluent countries’, Oxford University Press
- Nolan, B., Thewissen, S. (forthcoming) ‘Inequality and ordinary living standards in OECD countries’, in Nolan, B. (ed) ‘Generating prosperity for working families in affluent countries’, Oxford University Press
- Nolan, B., Roser, M., Thewissen, S. (forthcoming) ‘Median household income and GDP’, in Nolan, B. (ed) ‘Generating prosperity for working families in affluent countries’, Oxford University Press
- Nolan, B., Thewissen, S., Lazzati, A. (forthcoming) ‘Sources of household income growth in rich countries’, in Nolan, B. (ed) ‘Generating prosperity for working families in affluent countries’, Oxford University Press
- Salverda, W., Thewissen, S. (forthcoming) ‘How has the middle fared in the Netherlands? A tale of stagnation and population shifts’, in Nolan, B. (ed) ‘Inequality and inclusive growth in rich countries: Shared challenges and contrasted fortunes’, Oxford University Press). Also available as Oxford INET Working Paper Series no. 2017-04
- Sterck, O., Roser, M., Ncube, M., Thewissen, S. (2018) “Allocation of development assistance for health: Is the predominance of national income justified?“, Health Policy and Planning 33(1): i14-i23
- See VoxEU blog here
- Thewissen, S., Jeurissen, P., Van der Vlugt, G. (2015) “Health care budgeting in the Netherlands“, in: OECD (2015) Fiscal sustainability of health systems: Bridging health and finance perspectives, Paris: OECD Publishing
- Thewissen, S. (2014) “Is it the income distribution or redistribution that affects growth?“, Socio-Economic Review 12: 3 545-571
- Chung, H., Thewissen, S. (2011) “Falling back on old habits? A comparison of the social and unemployment crisis reactive policy strategies in Germany, the UK and Sweden“, Social Policy & Administration 45: 4 354–370
Policy papers I contributed to
- World Bank (2017) “Fair progress? Educational mobility around the world“, Equity and Development Series
Work in progress
- Sterck, O., Roser, M., Thewissen, S. “Turning the paradigm of aid allocation on its head“, CSAE Working Paper WPS/2017-03
How should aid be allocated among countries? Past research efforts to answer this question followed three steps: (1) the definition of an objective function; (2) the characterization of its functional form; and (3) the estimation of its parameters. Each step has been heavily criticized. While thought provoking, all attempts to refine the objective function and its functional form have increased complexity, overburdening the already too fragile parameterization step. We argue that a complete rethinking and reversal of this paradigm is needed. We start by examining what can be estimated with “sufficient” credibility. We then define five key properties or axioms which are justified in terms of fairness, proportionality, and encouragement domestic investments. Finally, we combine these elements into an allocation formula. The framework is applied to the allocation of development assistance for health.
- Thewissen, S., Been, J. “Time reallocation and extended income of mothers: Quasi- experimental evidence from cuts in childcare subsidies in the Netherlands”
This paper analyzes reallocation of time in market work and home production and consequences for extended income of mothers when facing a shock in the costs of formal childcare. For causal identification, we rely on a difference-in-difference estimation where we exploit a substantial cut in childcare subsidies in the Netherlands as a natural experiment. We provide a more encompassing view of effects of policy changes on wellbeing by examining effects on extended income, calculated as the sum of market income and monetized home production. We make use of three methods to monetize home production. We find that mothers are able to avoid a loss in their extended income when facing increased costs in formal childcare. This suggests that mothers are able to keep their wellbeing constant by reallocating their time use when facing a shock in their money budget.
- Thewissen, S., Kenworthy, L., Nolan, B., Roser, M., Smeeding, T. (2015) “Rising income inequality and living standards in OECD countries: How does the middle fare?“, LIS Working Paper Series no. 656. Also available as Oxford INET Working Paper Series no. 2015-01 (revise & resubmit in Journal of Income Distribution)
This paper uses LIS and OECD data to examine how both median incomes and income inequality have evolved between 1980-2013. There are striking differences across OECD countries in median income growth and overall inequality. A significant negative association between changes in Gini and median income is found, and a significant negative relationship with changes in top shares when controlling for economic growth. Economic growth and inequality trends together leave much of the variation in median incomes unaccounted for, so direct measures of how these incomes are evolving need to be central to monitoring progress towards inclusive growth.
- Nolan, B., Roser, M., Thewissen, S. (2016) “Models, regimes, and the evolution of middle incomes in OECD countries“, LIS Working Paper Series no. 660. Also available as Oxford INET Working Paper Series no. 2016-01
- Thewissen, S., Nolan, B., Lazzati, A. “‘Middle’ household incomes across OECD countries up to and through the Great Recession: Decomposing by source“, Paper presented at the 34th IARIW General Conference, August 21-27, 2016
- Thewissen S., Van Vliet, O., Wang, C. (2013) “Sectorale loonongelijkheid en werkgelegenheid in internationaal perspectief tussen 1985 en 2005“, TPEdigitaal 7: 3 139–160