Jess Palka

I believe that economic policy is an essentially powerful but seriously misunderstood political mechanism, underpinning many of the opportunities and constraints that people face in life. Despite this, economic research and policy-making are often constructed using excessively complex language, statistics and expert jargon that exclude a vast segment of society from engaging in these crucial debates. There seems to be a growing chasm between the life experiences of many people, and the policy-making of well-educated and likely well-meaning academics and government representatives.
In an era of rapid technological advancements, social media movements, global pandemics and decisive climate change hurdles, a breakdown in communication and trust between governments and citizens requires a re-examination of the role of the polis – community, city, state, or a common space that enables action – in policy.
With this in mind, I was motivated to join the Mercator Graduate College to explore the application of participatory research methods as means to developing new socioeconomic knowledge, fair and accountable public policy, and the self-determination of marginalised communities.

Important stages in the CV
Research focus
Research Projects at the Graduate Programme

Important stages in the CV

10/2021 - 03/2022 Lecturer, Institute of Sociology UDE, Master Seminar: "Community-Based Research in Marxloh's 'Hidden' Economy"
10/2021 - 03/2022 Research Assistant, Institute for Work and Technology, Raumkaptial Projekt
09/2019 – 03/2020

Intern,  The International Tax Compact (ITC), Good Financial Governance Sector Program, Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Bonn

02/2019 – 09/2019

Student research assistant,  The Chair of the Institute for Political Science, University of Duisburg-Essen
10/2018 – 09/2019 Student research assistant,  The United Nations Development System and New Challenges Research Project, The German Development Institute
06/2018 – 08/2018 Intern,  Resource Mobilisation and Partnerships, United Nations Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC), Bonn
12/2017 – 08/2018 Student research assistant,  Behavioural economics research institute, briq - Institute on Behavior & Inequality, Bonn
11/2015 – 12/2016 Economic and labour market data analyst ,  Department of Training and Workforce Development , The State Government of Western Australia
01/2013 – 10/2013 Student research assistant,  Centre for Labour Market Research, Curtin University, Western Australia

Research focus

  • Labour market economics
  • Social economy
  • International development
  • Participatory research
  • Feminist theory

Fakultät für Gesellschaftswissenschaften

Keetmanstr. 3-9
47058 Duisburg
SK 112


  • Wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/in, Institut für Sozioökonomie

  • Palka, Jess (2021). „Warum überhaupt Social Citizen Science und Public Humanities?” Digital World-Café at the Forum Citizen Science of Bürger schaffen Wissen. 06.05.21
  • Palka, Jess (2021). Poster presentation "Community-Based Participatory Action Research and Marxloh's "Hidden" Migrant Economy". Das Deutsche Zentrum für Integrations- und Migrationsforschung (DeZIM) Nachwuchstagung, 15.10.21, Duibsburg, GER
  • Palka, Jess (2023) Paper presentation "Participatory and Place-Based Socioeconomic Knowledge Generation: An Experience in Community-Based Research Pedagogy".  The 35th annual European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE) conference, 12.09.-15.09.23, Leeds, GB