Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences


60 seconds with... Professor Kalina Manova

9 March 2021

Meet Kalina Manova, Professor of Economics in the UCL Department of Economics. Kalina will be delivering her Inaugural Lecture, 'Global Firms: International Trade and Investment with Financial Frictions and Global Value Chains', on 17 March 2021. Read on for a sneak preview...

a WORLD of anecDOTes

Tell us a little about your research...

I am an economist specializing in international trade and investment. My research explores three key themes: (i) the effects of financial frictions on international trade, multinational activity, and the gains from globalization; (ii) the role of firm heterogeneity in productivity, quality, and management practices; and (iii) the determinants and consequences of global value chains for firm performance and aggregate growth. I am motivated by real-world phenomena and policy questions, and I aim to balance sound theory with rigorous empirics to develop powerful novel insights. I thrive on bringing ideas from other economics fields into international economics.

Why is your research important?

Technological change and trade policy have fundamentally transformed international trade and investment in recent decades. For individual firms, new challenges and opportunities have arisen as production has fragmented across firm boundaries and country borders. For countries at different levels of economic development, the increased heterogeneity and complexity of firms’ participation in the world economy has raised new and different questions about the impact of globalization. My research informs these focal issues in both policy debates and frontier research.

What inspires you in your work?

I am fascinated by globalization – it is increasingly complex, constantly evolving, and incredibly important. I am drawn to puzzles that require lateral yet disciplined thinking to explain how and why different phenomena relate. Academia gives me unique intellectual freedom and precious opportunities to interact with bright and energetic people.

What has been your most memorable career moment so far?

I cherish three career milestones: graduating from Harvard to join Stanford as assistant professor; winning a €1.5mil ERC Consolidator Grant upon moving to Europe; and being promoted to full professor at UCL, becoming deputy department chair, and learning we are expecting our son, all within days of my 40th birthday.

What passions/hobbies do you have outside of work?

Variety is the spice of life. I love to travel, explore new cultures, and interact with people of different backgrounds. I am also a passionate dancer.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

“Invisible Women” and “Couples That Work” – aspirational with a 7-month old!

Book tickets for Kalina's lecture


Inaugural Lecture Series 2020/21

This lecture is part of the 2020/21 series for UCL's Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences. The series provides an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our professors who are undertaking research and scholarship of international significance, and offers an insight into the strength and vitality of the arts, humanities and social sciences at UCL.

All our lectures are free to attend and open to all. You don't have to be a UCL staff member or student to come along.

For information on previous and upcoming lectures please visit: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/social-historical-sciences/news-events/inaugural-lectures