8 April 2021

Postdoctoral position in Trade Finance Economics

Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and EKF, the Danish Export Credit Agency together invites candidates for a two-year postdoctoral position in Trade Finance Economics starting in the Spring or early Summer of 2021.

The position is jointly funded by EKF and the Innovation Fund of Denmark through the project “The connection between developments in global financial markets, export credits and Danish companies' exports”.

The Research Project

“The connection between developments in global financial markets, export credits and Danish companies' exports” is a two-year research project, which will be co-headed by Professor Jakob Roland Munch of UCPH and Department Director Jørn Fredsgaard Sørensen of EKF.

The goal of the project is to determine the factors behind the demand for state-sponsored export credits.
Many governments around the world sponsor export credit agencies (ECAs) in order to mitigate risks and provide finance and thereby promote exports. The states’ involvement in providing finance for export goes back more than 100 years, and EKF and other ECAs play a major role in facilitating private firms’ export activity.
It is all the more remarkable how little is known, among practitioners and researchers alike,
about the interconnections between, on the one hand, ECAs’ activity level, and, on the other hand, the surrounding economy. It is thus not possible to see whether demand for ECAs’ guarantees and loans goes up or down, whenever there is a downturn in the economy.
As risks rise in a downturn, one could expect an increase in the demand for ECA guarantees. However, a downturn also decreases the volume of desired investments and thus the financing requirements, thereby shrinking the pool of possible transactions on which ECA guarantees can be relevant.
An additional reason for the lack of any observable pattern is probably that most of ECA export credits or guarantees are provided with the commercial banking sector as a middleman. As such, the combination of banks’ willingness to lend and their risk appetite (with or without ECA guarantees) and the number of possible lending transactions (which fluctuates with economic activity in general) has an independent influence on the demand for ECA guarantees and loans.
The project thus aims to answer two fundamental questions to which there are currently no
satisfactory answers:

  1. What factors are driving the demand for ECAs’ guarantees and loans?
  2. What are the effects of ECA credit provisions on firm performance?

The project will exploit a unique combination of data sources, including official Danish firm registers, EKF’s database, as well as a data set from the Berne Union on all ECAs’ issuance of loans and guarantees to different countries in the world. This will be coupled with data on international cross-border movements of private bank flows from BIS (Bank of International Settlements) as well as other relevant data.

Duties, Responsibilities and Opportunities

Primary responsibility of the Postdoc candidate is to conduct research in order to answer the two fundamental questions above. The Postdoc will be expected to make contributions to the project’s overall research agenda by processing and analyzing the connection between the issuance of ECA loans and guarantees (the Berne Union data set) and the cross-border movements of private bank flows (and their underlying factors – the BIS data set 1).

The candidate is expected to spend about half of her/his time at EKF, while the other half will be spent at UCHP or from a home office. However, there are ample opportunities to reach out and spend time at universities and other institutions of relevance to the project.

Given that two major data sources are from respectively the Berne Union in London and the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, it is expected that the candidate will spend time at these institutions. There is currently no ongoing research at the Berne Union, but there is a flourishing research environment around BIS. There will be an audience among the ECAs in the Berne Union, which will be interested in pre-publications findings of relevance to their institutions.

It will also be recommended and supported that the candidate reaches out to relevant universities and research institutions in the field.

It is also recommended that the candidate participates in relevant seminars and conferences, which the candidate will have a significant stake in identifying.

There are no teaching obligations related to this position, and the position thus offers a good chance to focus on research within a hitherto academically unexamined, but financially and politically very important subject.

The Candidate’s Competences

The candidate must have obtained a PhD degree in Economics or a highly related field by the time the Postdoc position starts. In addition, the following competences are viewed as a plus (but not a necessity):

  • Previous experience with independent data collection and/or administrative data sources.
  • Familiarity with existing theoretical and/or empirical work on trade finance, credit constraints and bank lending.
  • Familiarity with various approaches to statistical data analysis, as well as some knowledge of qualitative data analysis.

Candidates possessing these competences should make sure to highlight this in their application materials.

The Environment

EKF offers a stimulating working environment, akin to a private financial institution. The candidate will be hosted by the department for Country, Bank & Sector risk, headed by Jørn Fredsgaard Sørensen. This department is the major analytical department in EKF, employing among its seven analysts two PhDs in respectively economy and political science. EKF is located in Nordhavn, 10 minutes from central Copenhagen by Metro and in attractive offices at the waterfront.

EKF helps Danish companies make it attractive for foreigners to buy Danish goods. EKF has financed transactions in over 100 countries, and offers an exciting and international environment, where collaboration with companies, banks and embassies around the world as well as international organizations is the daily norm. EKF employs around 150 persons.

The Department of Economics at the University of Copenhagen offers a stimulating research environment. The Department has an established strategy of being an elite economics department in Europe. This is reflected in the rapid growth and track record of top publications of its faculty. See more at https://econ.ku.dk/ or read the department’s strategy here https://www.economics.ku.dk/department/reportsplans/M_l-_og_handleplan_OI_final.pdf

The department is located in central Copenhagen. The international nature of Copenhagen and the high English-language proficiency makes it an easy and attractive city to live in for candidates coming from abroad.

The Department of Economics is part of the Faculty of the Social Sciences. The Faculty is a successful academic community that strives to put knowledge into action by:

  • Engaging partners in the co-creation of knowledge, learning and social change.
  • Empowering our students to become reflective and responsible citizens who have the vision, the knowledge and the competences to change society for the better.
  • Energizing global, European and Danish communities of knowledge by innovating research methodologies and by research findings with impact

For more on the Faculty strategy, see: https://socialsciences.ku.dk/faculty/strategy/ 

Terms of Employment

Terms of appointment, salary and contribution to the pension scheme is in accordance to the agreed for academics in the state field.

The recruitment process

Interviews will be conducted on-line and if possible, also face to face in EKF.

Contact information

Information about the recruitment process is available from HR Partner Charlotte Palm Knudsen mobile 0045 4242 0492, e-mail: cpk@ekf.dk.
Additional information about the position can be obtained by director, head of Country, Bank & Sector Risk Jørn Fredsgaard, mobile +45 2018 3969, jfs@ekf.dk and Professor Jakob Roland Munch, mobile +45 3532 3019, jakob.roland.munch@econ.ku.dk.

How to apply

Submit a complete application at our online portal. The documents must be in Adobe PDF or Word format.
Your application must be written in English and include the following documents:

  • Motivated application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Publications/papers to be considered (a maximum of 5 may be enclosed, please indicate one publication/paper that you wish particularly emphasized in the evaluation)
  • Diplomas – all relevant certificates

The closing date for applications is 23:59 CEST/CET April 8, 2021. Applications or enclosures received thereafter will not be considered.


1) See BIS Working papers No. 639; Supply- and demand-side factors in global banking