Elias Papaioannou, Professor of Economics
Life@LBS met with Elias Papaioannou, Professor of Economics to find out a little bit more about him and his research.
- You are a Professor of Economics. Can you tell us a little bit about your research?
My research tries to shed light on some cool questions. One strand of my research relates to the role of historical legacies on contemporary development, with an Africa-focus. How the artificial drawing of colonial borders shaped African development post-independence? What’s the role of national and ethnic institutions on regional development in Africa? What is the impact of land mines on spatial development? What are the origins and consequences of regional and ethnic inequality?
Another strand of my research lies in international finance, trying to understand the drivers of cross-border capital flows and corporate investment and the impact of financial globalization on business cycle synchronization.
I am also researching the role of fiscal policy in currency unions, the impact of country endowments on international specialization and industrial structure, the effect of democratic transitions on growth, and also try to understand the origins of the recent spike in populism.
- What do you enjoy most about teaching?
My interaction with students. LBS students are versatile, engaging, and interested in learning. They are diverse and have interesting personal and professional backgrounds. It is a pleasure interacting with and learning from them. A cool thing about teaching is that it pushes you to keep learning. I enjoy keeping updated on economic, political and financial market developments all around the world.
- If you hadn’t become an academic what else would you have done?
I studied law and considered an attorney career in Athens. But I disliked the formalistic nature of the Greek legal system. Then I co-founded a telecom firm in Greece, but soon I lost interest and in a very Greek-way I quarrelled with my partners. At some point towards the end of my undergrad studies, I wanted to switch to studying classics and history - I would have been unemployed! There was a time in New York City that I considered working in investment banking. Ex post, I would have liked to study math and physics, though I was not that good at it.
- What does being a part of the LBS community mean to you?
It is great. It's fantastic and interesting, interacting and hanging out with amazing colleagues and getting to know and learning from the students and alumni.
- Where is your favourite place on campus?
As the Economics department is in Plowden, my office overlooks the road, my favourite place is the yard overlooking Regent’s Park.
- What does your typical work day look like?
The typical workday looks a bit boring, but since I love research and enjoy teaching, it is quite stimulating. The only trouble is dealing with admin and doing committee work. I guess one cannot have it all...
- Where is your favourite holiday destination?
The Greek islands and the Peloponnese. In particular, Patmos (in the Dodecanese), where I used to vacation with my guy-friends and where I met my wife. My father’s hometown, Lykouria, near the historic city of Kalavryta in the central Peloponnese. In the past, I loved Myconos and Skiathos, more recently Sifnos.
Outside Greece, South Africa is an amazing place and I want to explore it as much as possible. Driving California’s highway 1 (make a stop at the Big Sur) and exploring Tuscany with a car (make a stop in Montalcino for some great Brunello) is super. And of course Argentina, Buenos Aires and Patagonia.
- What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Love what you do. Insist, keep trying and do not give up.
- Do you have any good recommendations from living in London?
Dining in Dining’s Restaurant (do not ask, just go); walking in Primrose Hill and Hyde Park; and exploring the Science Museum.
- Tell us something surprising about you…
For this you have to do 'field work' in the night clubs, restaurants, and beach bars of Athens, Myconos, Patmos, and Skiathos, in particular. Even if you do not find anything for my pre-Professor life, you will enjoy yourself and experience many surprises…