Three films feature nine endowment professors of the Department of Economics of the University of Zurich in the three research fields: ‘Development economics’, ‘Behavioral economics’, and ’Trade, globalization and labor’. The project, commissioned by the Excellence Foundation Zurich, briefly introduces the scientists and their research topics. With its leitmotif ‘Creating Economics. Shaping Society’, the Department of Economics underlines the social and interconnected nature of economics. Each scientist is portrayed in an off-campus situation that make references to the researcher’s field of expertise.

1. Development Economics

Development Economics studies the approaches to promote economic growth in low-income countries by improving health, education and structural conditions.

Film portraits Development Economics (4.31) Imagining Science, 2020

Lorenzo Casaburi, Swiss Re Foundation Professor of Development Economics
Dina Pomeranz, UBS Foundation Professor of Applied Economics
Guilherme Lichand, Professor for Child Well-Being and Development, endowed by UNICEF Switzerland

Department of Economics – Development Economics

2. Behavioral Economics

Behavioral Economics includes psychological, cultural, social and cognitive factors when looking at economic decisions of individuals and institutions. By including non-rational assumptions, it offers more accurate explanations of economic outcomes.

Film portraits Behavioral Economics (4.23) Imagining Science, 2020

Roberto Weber, Professor of Corporate Culture, Business Ethics and Social Responsibility, endowed by Credit Suisse
Anne Ardila Brenøe, Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Professor of Child and Youth Development with a focus on breastfeeding
Carlos Alós-Ferrer, NOMIS Professor of Decision and Neuroeconomic Theory

Department of Economics – Behavioral Economics

3. Trade, Globalization and Labor

International Trade studies the economic transactions between countries and the effects of trade agreements and standards for economic growth.

Film portraits Trade, Globalization and Labor (4.34) Imagining Science, 2020

David Dorn, UBS Foundation Professor of Globalization and Labor Markets
Ralph Ossa, Kühne Foundation Professor of International Trade
Emily Blanchard, Kühne Foundation Visiting Professor for International Economics and Policy

Department of Economics – International Trade


Background and approach

The Excellence Foundation Zurich of the Department of Economics supports the Department and the research through building stakeholder networks, coordinates third-party funding and organises public programs. The films are developed to introduce the endowment professorships to stakeholders, the Department’s community and to the wider public.

The film portraits literally connect to social situations by filming in society, — in situ — on locations in the Zurich region. The places were selected by their metaphorical and associative potential in relation to the addressed topics. For example professor Pomeranz who works on tax policy and public economics is portrayed at the Zurich town hall. Scientist Carlos Alós-Ferrer, who focuses on decision-making and neuroeconomics is represented in the midst of the complexity of the largest logistics center of the Swiss Post, and Guilherme Lichand who is researching development economics is represented in the Volkshaus Zurich, a place with a long civic history.

The protagonists were invited to leave their professional habitat and spontaneously respond to the surroundings as found on the locations. The films are not scripted and the protagonists were not instructed. Each portrait gives a short summary of the research questions endeavoured by each scientist as well as a contextualisation of their work.

The films are published on the website of the Excellence Foundation Zurich.



Excellence Foundation Zurich



Project type
Film production, Visual storytelling
Economics, Foundation, Science
Project lead

Evert Ypma

Project team

Evert Ypma (concept), Margarete von Lupin (concept, editor), Mauro Walker, Christian Gropper (film maker), Alesh Jufer (Camera)


Lorenzo Casaburi, Dina Pomeranz, Guilherme Lichand, Roberto Weber, Anne Ardila Brenøe, Carlos Alós-Ferrer, David Dorn, Ralph Ossa, Emily Blanchard


Zoé Buess (Camera, traffic), Salome Wüllmer (sound recording), Beat Baumgartner (logistics), Noisy Neighbors: Thomas Gassmann, Etienne Kompis and Loïc Kreyden (sound design and mastering)

With thanks to

Botanical garden, University of Zurich
Credit Suisse, Zurich
Letter center Mülligen, Die Post
SBB Cargo Spreitenbach
SBB Zürich HB
Swiss Re Next, Zurich
Townhall Zurich Municiplaity
UBS, Zurich
Volkshaus, Volkshaus Café, Zurich