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Sebastian Kohl

John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow & Visiting Scholar 2019-2020


Sebastian Kohl

Sebastian Kohl is a researcher in comparative political economy and economic sociology at the Max-Planck Institute for the Study of Societies. He studied economics, sociology, political science and philosophy at the University of Cologne and Sciences Po. He holds a joint Ph.D. degree from the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies and Sciences Po, Paris. His research interests include economic sociology, political economy, housing, insurances, and the philosophy of the social sciences.

At CES, Kohl’s project on the political economy of the private insurance sector investigates the global long-run development of property and life insurers during the different stages of capitalism (merchant, agrarian, industrial, financial). He sheds light on the causes for different insurance trajectories as well as on the consequences of insurances for the development of capitalism, financial stability and welfare states.

His two main fields of empirical inquiry are housing and insurance markets in comparative historical perspective. Kohl has published in Socio-economic Review, Urban Studies, Politics & Society and the Review of International Political Economy. His recent book is Homeownership, Renting and Society: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (Routledge, 2017).

This information is accurate for the time period that the visiting scholar is affiliated with CES.


  • Senior Researcher, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow & Visiting Scholar 2019-2020, CES, Harvard University

Research Project

Insuring capitalism: the political economy of risk-spreading institutions