AGI Profiles: Dr. Wolf Heinrich Reuter

Albert Mashkulli

Halle Foundation/AGI Intern

Albert Mashkulli is a research intern at AGI in spring 2024. He assists resident fellows with their research projects, manages databases, and helps organize and document AGI events. Mr. Mashkulli is currently a master’s student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he specializes in strategy, security, and statecraft, with a regional focus on Europe and Eurasia. Prior to his time at SAIS, he received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics in 2022 from SUNY University at Buffalo. He also received a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in Italian in 2019 from SUNY University at Buffalo.

Mr. Mashkulli worked as a political science research assistant as an undergraduate, where he researched the spread of Russian misinformation in Eastern Europe, the spread of online misinformation and its effect on political polarization, and the geoeconomics of European micronations. His area of expertise includes European defense and security, geopolitics of the Balkans, and the post-Soviet space.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance

Dr. Wolf Heinrich Reuter has served as the State Secretary at the Minister of Finance (Staatssekretär im Bundesministerium der Finanzen) since January 1, 2024. He was appointed to the Ministry of Finance in April 2022 as the Chief Economist, and, as State Secretary, Dr. Reuter reports directly to the Minister of Finance Christian Lindner. Dr. Reuter replaced State Secretary Werner Gatzer, the second-longest-serving state minister and a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), who was put into temporary retirement. As State Secretary, Reuter is also head of the policy department, and he oversees the implementation of fiscal and economic policy.

Background and Education

Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Dr. Wolf Heinrich Reuter started his studies in economics and information systems at the Vienna University of Economics and Business in 2004. He received his degrees in economics in 2010 and information systems in 2011, as well as his Doctorate in Social and Economic Sciences in 2013. His doctoral thesis, “Measurement, determinants, and effects of fiscal policy and frameworks,” focused on how debt rules and the debt brake work.

Dr. Reuter began his career as the Managing Director at SYMPOS Veranstaltungsmanagement GmbH, a consulting, event management, and advertising agency in Austria, from 2006 until 2009. While he was studying for his Doctorate, he was a research assistant at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis from 2010 until 2015. During that time, Dr. Reuter also worked as a research and teaching associate for the Vienna University of Economics and Business. He later became a research economist in 2016 for the Austrian National Bank (Österreichische Nationalbank), where he held this position until 2016. He later became a full-time economist in 2016 for the German Council of Economic Experts, where he focused his research on fiscal frameworks around the regulations of budgetary policy, European integration, climate policy, and international trade. He held this position until 2018 when he was promoted to Secretary General. Dr. Reuter’s career in the Ministry of Finance began in April of 2022 as the Chief Economist and Director General for Economic and Fiscal Policy. He was appointed to be a State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance on January 1, 2024.

Role in the Finance Ministry and Future Outlook

Dr. Reuter is seen as an economist who thinks pragmatically, especially when it comes to dealing with debt. This is especially important for the current administration, Finance Minister Lindner, and the finance minister’s party, the Free Democrats (FDP), which adheres to the debt brake and is strict on maintaining Germany’s balanced budget. Dr. Reuter’s strong belief in the debt brake has been a constant throughout his career as evidenced by his doctoral thesis. Dr. Reuter is considered to be an ordoliberal, meaning that he believes that the government must ensure a free market economy.

Dr. Reuter is not aligned with any party. Instead of through party politics, Dr. Reuter came to Minister Lindner’s attention through Dr. Reuter’s professional mentor Lars Feld, who is now Minister Lindner’s official advisor. Dr. Feld and Dr. Reuter wrote many articles together on the future of economic reforms, fiscal rulings, and the debt brake in Germany. Dr. Reuter has a variety of competencies from his previous role at the finance ministry in addition to fiscal policy such as trade and climate policy. Some of his work in climate policy has focused on renewable energy investment, climate policy uncertainties, and their overall effects on the market. His previous work in trade policy overlaps with some climate policy in the areas of carbon trading and global food security. However, Dr. Reuter’s current role in the ministry is expected to focus solely on fiscal policy, such as maintaining the debt brake and strict debt rules for Germany.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.