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Meet Our PhD Students | Mara Balasa

What is it like to pursue a PhD at the Center for Statecraft and Strategic Communication? We asked Mara Balasa, who is the center's first PhD student.

This semester, the Center for Statecraft and Strategic Communication (CSSC) opened up its doors at the Stockholm School of Economics. CSSC, which cooperates with centers in the United States and United Kingdom, will employ a number of PhD fellows in the coming years. First out is Mara Balasa, who joined CSSC's PhD program this semester. We have talked to Mara about her research and what she hopes to do after graduation.

What did you do before you started the program?

I have just graduated from the Master's Program in Economics at the Stockholm School of Economics. My specialization was Applied Economic Analysis, and I also completed the Data Analytics Track. Prior to that, I had obtained my undergraduate degree in Economics, Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick. Before joining this program, I also had the opportunity to work in Frankfurt, Brussels and Bucharest in the areas of finance and economics within various governmental and European institutions, as well as in public affairs. Given my background, I was motivated to apply to this PhD program and conduct research in historically informed statecraft, with a focus on environmental economics and international trade.

Can you tell us about your PhD research project?

I am planning on researching the interplay between economics, politics and policy with regards to the environment and international trade. I would like to contribute to the literature on free trade agreements (FTAs), especially in the European Union, with an emphasis on the agreements’ environmental implications. I will thus compare FTAs over time and assess the impact of the Trade and Sustainable Development Chapters on the composition of bilateral trade flows. Furthermore, building on my previous work, I will also research further the relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation, given the importance of this topic and its implications in the fight against climate change.

What do you envision yourself doing after graduation?

I believe that being part of CSSC opens many doors in terms of career opportunities. I would like to stay in academia since I really enjoy both researching and teaching. I aim to share my knowledge with future generations and exchange ideas with ambitious students regarding matters related to statecraft and strategic communication.

Thank you and good luck, Mara!