How do pollution and climate change affect health and the associated costs? How do people adapt to their environmental conditions, and what factors are crucial for such adaptability? Julia Mink, new Argelander Professor at the University of Bonn, addresses these and other questions. In the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Individuals, Institutions and Societies" , she will work at the interface of environmental and health economics.
Julia Mink’s goal is to answer complex questions about environmental and climate policy by precisely quantifying the societal costs of pollution and climate change. To estimate costs as accurately as possible, she uses large spatio-temporal datasets that allow her to capture even rarely occurring effects. In addition, the economist analyzes the avoidance and adaptation behavior of individuals, companies and other actors.
One aspect she is particularly concerned about is studying inequalities. "Exposure to pollutants and the impacts of climate change are often unequally distributed, with poorer populations usually more affected," she says. Quantifying these disparities is important, she says, in order to make recommendations for possible compensation and redistribution measures.
Research at the interface of disciplines
To answer complex socially relevant questions, Julia Mink collaborates with scientists from various disciplines - including experts from epidemiology, agricultural sciences and computer science, as well as specialists in weather and pollution models. Her Argelander Professorship is anchored in the Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA) "Individuals and Societies" at the University of Bonn.
"We are very pleased and at the same time proud that we were able to attract Julia Mink," says TRA spokesperson Thomas Dohmen. "With her research on the societal costs of pollution and climate change, she will set new accents for interdisciplinary research at the TRA and strengthen connections between researchers from different disciplines and faculties."
The goal of the Argelander Professorships for early-career-researchers (named after the Bonn astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm August Argelander, 1799-1875) is to expand the research profile of the six Transdisciplinary Research Areas at the University of Bonn. Here, researchers work together on future-relevant questions across the boundaries of subjects and faculties.
"Addressing the impacts of climate change and pollution is one of the greatest challenges of our time. With Julia Mink, we have been able to attract a top-class scientist who conducts research at an interface between environmental economics, law and the social sciences that is crucial for this major topic," says Rector Dr. h. c. Michael Hoch. "The establishment and filling of this Argelander professorship is another example of the successful implementation of our excellence strategy to establish transdisciplinary research on key future topics across the boundaries of faculties and disciplines."
The societal impact of environmental pollutants
So far, Julia Mink has focused on the health effects of various environmental pollutants and the associated costs. Following on from this, she would like to broaden the focus of her research and investigate, for example, how heat waves affect the productivity of the population and the economy.
"It’s also important for policymakers to know the extent to which different populations are able to avoid the effects of pollution and adapt to climate change," she says. "Finding out more about this can help target limited resources to the most vulnerable and at-risk populations."
About the person
After studying economics at the Sciences Po Research Institute in Paris (France), Julia Mink received her PhD from the same institute in 2021 and spent a research period at the University of California in Berkeley (USA). Before joining the University of Bonn, she worked as a Postdoc at the French National Institute for Research in Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE) in France.
The Argelander Professorship
The Argelander Professorship is an initially temporary W1 professorship in the TRA "Individuals and Societies" in the Department of Economics of the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the University of Bonn. After a successful interim and final evaluation, this so-called tenure-track phase serves as a stepping stone to a subsequent W2 professorship with a permanent appointment.