Research Interests

My passion is applied economics with an open mind in approaching quantitative methodology by mixing methods from econometrics, machine learning, and networks analysis. The topics of which I am currently pursuing in my doctoral studies are:

  1. Economic complexity/capabilities and growth
  2. Technology, skills and wages
  3. Economic structure and inequality

A core research interest of mine is understanding income determinants from a country level (macro) to an individual level (micro).

A friend of mine once asked me, “If you had to convince a young adult why they should study economics, what would you tell them?” I responded, “If they are curious about the world then study economics – become a worldy philosopher – as Robert Heilbroner coined it.” Similarly, my interests follow this spirit of curiosity.


About Mary Kaltenberg

Profile Pic

I am currently a PhD Fellow at UNU-MERIT. My advisors are Bart Verspagen at UNU-MERIT and Cesar Hidalgo at the Collective Learning group at the MIT Media Lab. In 2016, I was a visiting student and research assistant at the MIT Media Lab.

Previously, I worked at UNICEF on resource mobilization and research on accessibility to health care. I received my masters and bachelors degree in economics from The New School for Social Research in New York City.

Check out my Github for code and data from previous papers (currently updating), and code for tutorials for previously taught short courses.

More details about my experience can be found on my CV

I work on other personal projects/passions:

  • PhD Workshop on Innovation, Economic Complexity and Economic Geography, August 5-7, 2018 at MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA, USA
    Lead organizer for a summer Workshop with the Collective Learning Group at the MIT Media Lab, YSI Innovation and YSI Complexity Working Group at INET. Call for papers are open. Apply here by June 10, 2018
  • Reading Schumpeter
    Webinar based reading group on Schumpeter’s texts. I am an organizer through the YSI Innovation Working Group.
  • Cookbook, From Siberia to Texas: An Immigrant’s Collected Recipes
    Listen to my PechaKucha talk about it (currently writing a draft)
  • Cookie a week project
    Every week I bake a different cookie recipe and post them on instagram
    Follow my instagram account @sumthingabout to see my weekly cookies
  • Divine Feminist Philosophy Book Club
    Bi-monthly book club on re-defining and imagining a new left philosophy
    Current Book: Francis Piven’s Poor People’s Movements: Why they succeed, How they Fail
    Previous Books:Bell Hooks’s Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom , David Graeber’s Utopia of Rules, Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Rosa Luxemburg’s Mass Strike
  • Economaster Chef (2015)
    Cook an appetizer, main course and dessert together with one “master” chef per item. Each person who is from a different country teaches the others their recipe to learn the tacit knowledge of cooking. We switch chefs and recipes every meeting. Check out our recipe collection from the year here

Selected Publications

Kaltenberg, M. (2017). Complexity Pays: Knowledge Coordination Premiums. Revising to submit.

Jun, B., Kaltenberg, M. and Won-Sik, H. 2017, How Inequality Hurts Growth: Revisiting the Galor-Zeira model using the Korean Case. pre-print.

Hartmann, D., Jara-Figueroa, C. and Kaltenberg, M., 2017, The Brazilian Industry-Occupation Space: Structural Heterogeneity and the regional skills demand. IADB Technical Report.

Industrial Development Report 2016. The Role of Technology and Innovation in Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development. “Technological change, structural transformation and economic growth,” Vienna, UNIDO.

Verspagen, B. & Kaltenberg, M., 2015, Catching-up in a globalised context: Technological change as a driver of growth, UNU-MERIT Working Paper
Download it here

If interested, please contact me about my ongoing projects.


Teaching Philosophy

The goal of economics is to make sense of the social world around us. I believe the best way to teach economics is through applied real world examples in an active environment. My pedagogical approach is to challenge students by asking questions and utilize classroom activities that reiterate the learning objective. This is especially important when teaching econometrics or statistics – the power of these tools is not visible in theory, but through application. Students also learn better when learning objectives are repeated in different ways – data collecting at the lecture, interactive websites, short videos at home, writing reports and problems sets. Learning is best applied in a community of active and engaged students. My goal as a teacher is to foster this kind of environment.

Teaching Experience

Maastricht School of Governance, Master of Science in Public Policy

Introduction to Statistics (Fall 2014), TA

Introduction to Data Science (Fall 2015)
Feel free to request the syllabus and Do-Files (Stata)

Introduction to Econometrics (Fall 2014 and 2015), TA

Intermediate Econometrics (Parallel Course to Intro to Econometrics) (Fall 2015), TA

Maastricht School of Governance, GPAC (PhD Program)

Intuition to Panel Data (Short Course 2017)
You can find the syllabus here
Feel free to request the Do-Files (Stata)

Introduction to Stata (Short Course 2017)
You can check out the do-files based on the course on my Github here

UNU-MERIT, (PhD Program)

Introduction to Python for Economists (Short Course 2017)
For jupytr notebook with the Python code, see my Github here

I am happy to provide teacher evaluations for all courses when available/applicable



kaltenberg [at] merit [dot] unu [dot] edu
mkaltenb [at] mit [dot] edu
mary.kaltenberg [at] maastrichtuniversity [dot] nl


University Address

Boschstraat 24 Room 0.06
6211 AX Maastricht
The Netherlands