Elena Nikolova - currently on unpaid leave


Elena Nikolova is a Principal Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.

She received her Ph.D from Princeton University in 2011.

Her research interests lie at the intersection of economics and politics and include political economy, democratisation, comparative politics, institutional economics, economic development, transitional economics and economic history.

At the EBRD, she is also a principal investigator for the Life in Transition Survey.


2011 - Ph.D. Political Economy, Princeton University
2002 - B.A. in Economics, Gettysburg College

Research interests

  • Political Economy
  • Economic Development
  • Transitional Economics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Economic History


"How much should we trust life satisfaction data? Evidence from the Life in Transition Survey ," (with Peter Sanfey), Forthcoming, Journal of Comparative Economics
Also EBRD working paper 174, SSRN version

"The Happiness Gap in Eastern Europe," (with Simeon Djankov and Jan Zilinsky), Forthcoming, Journal of Comparative Economics
Also EBRD working paper 184, SSRN version

"The Great Recession and Social Preferences: Evidence from Ukraine," (with Ralph De Haas and Milena Djourelova), Forthcoming, Journal of Comparative Economics
Also EBRD working paper 183, SSRN version

Destined for democracy? Labour markets and political change in colonial British America, Forthcoming, British Journal of Political Science
Also EBRD working paper 134 (older version)

"Religious diversity and entrepreneurship in transition: lessons for policy makers" (with Dora Simroth), IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, 2015, 4:5

Working papers

Policy Publications

Chapter 4 of EBRD's 2011 Transition Report, "Crisis in transition: the people's perspective"
Chapter 3 of EBRD's 2013 Transition Report, "Stuck in Transition?"