He was previously a Professor of Economics at the University of Geneva and an Associate Professor at École Polytechnique. He holds a Ph.D. from University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.
His current research focuses on globalisation, culture and violence in an attempt to answer the following questions: Is the process of globalisation leading to peace or is it associated with resistance and frictions across civilizations? Is cultural convergence reducing conflicts and facilitating the worldwide diffusion of stable, efficient and tolerant institutions? This project aims to bring the rigor of economic models and econometric methods on these questions that are traditionally considered outside the realm of economics. Mathias Thoenig's work has been published in leading journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Economic Review, Review of Economic Studies, Economic Journal, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Development Economic and, Journal of the European Economic Association.