I am an academic fellow at the Department of Social & Political Sciences and the Dondena Centre at Bocconi University. I work with David Stuckler and his lab comprising scholars examining the political economy of health. Before moving to Milan, I worked as a research fellow at the Department of Sociology in Cambridge.
My research focuses on the human price of global economic change and on how this lived experience of class is related to illiberalism. I combine cutting-edge quantitative methods, such as dynamic multilevel modelling, and qualitative methods yielding deep contextual knowledge. As a first-generation academic, I am driven by my personal experience with inequalities. I regard social science as a tool to understand real-world problems and take evidence-based action. This also motivated me as an activist and politician.
In my PhD thesis and several related publications, I examined the association between deindustrialisation, privatisation, the rise in mortality, desperation and population decline, presenting new evidence on the upstream determinants of the postsocialist demographic crisis. I passed my PhD viva in 2018 without revisions, which is the highest result one can get at Cambridge. My PhD degree was awarded in 2019.
Working on the human dimensions of economic change, I realised that the rise of illiberal, authoritarian populism and people’s personal experience with economic change are tightly linked. Based on this insight and my experience in Hungarian politics, I launched a new research project on the political economy of democratic backsliding. My book on the topic has been recently published in Hungarian, with an English-language version forthcoming.
My research appeared in leading academic journals, such as The Lancet Global Health, Sociology of Health and Illness, or Geoforum. I am currently co-editing a special issue titled 'Neoliberal capitalism and the Visegrád countermovement' for Europe-Asia Studies. I am regularly invited as a guest speaker, both in Europe (e.g. Chatham House) and in the US (Rutgers, Indiana, UMass Amherst). In various capacities, I also have worked with think tanks, such as the Foreign Policy Centre, Transnational Institute or the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. My work regularly features in popular outlets, such as openDemocracy.
I won several competitive international fellowships. The Cambridge European Trust awarded me a full PhD scholarship. In 2019, my PhD thesis won an international award in political economy, the Joerg Hufschmid Prize. The Independent Social Research Foundation funded my postdoctoral fellowship in political economy at Cambridge. I also spent six months in Washington D.C. as a democracy research fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy.