Department Strategic Interaction Group more
Department Evolutionary Economics Unit more
Fair play – a question of self-image?
Max Planck researchers explain the conditions under which people are prepared to behave fairly
Selfless behaviour brings success for all
One possibility to spur people on to save energy: people punish selfishness more when their group is in competition with others more
Your money or your conscience?
How policy makers should promote environmentally friendly products more
How young biotech companies can avoid bankruptcy
A Max Planck researcher has received the Ludwig Erhard Award for his dissertation in economics. more
Max Planck study shows that 1 out of 4 scientists who patent their results also establish their own business. more

In Pursuit of Happiness

MaxPlanckResearch 4/2012 Humanities & Social Sciences
Among employees in Germany, job satisfaction has been falling since the mid-1980s – an alarming finding. At the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena, researchers working with Martin Binder are studying the role that different forms of employment and states of health can play – and the circumstances under which this could be politically relevant.
It took decades for the laser to become established in CD players, cutting robots and as a scalpel – its development shows how a new technology takes hold.

A Game for Life

MPR 2 /2009 Culture & Society
Our economic decisions are not driven solely by a desire to maximize personal gain.
We can’t seem to get enough of traveling. Evolutionary
economists suspect that this is our way of satisfying
numerous needs – including the need for good health.

Experimental Economics and Trust

2014 Regner, Tobias; Winter, Fabian
Social and Behavioural Sciences
Trust is a key component of our economy. Cars would remain unsold at the dealer’s yard. The recruitment of suitable job candidates would be much more difficult. Economists argue that contracts, enforceable by law, ought to be concluded. Yet it is acknowledged that not all details of a relationship can be put into a contract. In this domain of incomplete contracts trust and trustworthiness are required. In a series of studies experimental economists at the Max Planck Institute of Economics investigated when and why we trust, and when we return trust. more

Like father, like son: Intergenerational transmission of preferences

2013 Volland, Benjamin
Social and Behavioural Sciences
Decades of research in the social sciences have demonstrated that an individual’s economic success is to a substantial part determined by his or her parents’ success. This phenomenon is only partially explained by direct transfer mechanisms (i.e. by donations or inheritance). One mechanism by which such intergenerational inertia in economic outcomes is likely to emerge is the similarity in preference sets between parents and their children. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Economics report on the observable cross-generational similarity in activity preferences. more

Conflicts of Interest on Financial Markets, Discrimination on Labor Markets

2012 Angelova, Vera
Social and Behavioural Sciences
How can clients increase the quality of the financial advice they ask for? When and why are employees with temporary employment paid less than employees with permanent employment? Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Economics report on two experiments with possible applications for the financial and labor markets. more

The economics of happiness

2011 Binder, Martin; Coad, Alex
Social and Behavioural Sciences
Inspired by research in biology and psychology, the central economic concept of “utility” has received a hedonistic interpretation with the advent of happiness research. An individual’s happiness (subjective well-being) is influenced by a complex web of determinants such as income, (un)employment, health and social factors. But in turn, happiness also influences all these factors, with happier individuals more successful in all domains. more

Field Experiments in Economics

2010 Koppel, Hannes; Regner, Tobias
Social and Behavioural Sciences
Over the last two decades lab experiments became an established method in economics. Only recently field experiments gained some prominence. Both have their respective pros and cons, and we point out that their use should be regarded as complementary. Finally, the potential scope of field experiments is illustrated in showing three recent studies in the context of payment mechanisms and charity. more

Firm Organization and Human Behavior

2009 Cordes, Christian
Behavioural Biology Social and Behavioural Sciences
One reason why firms exist is because they are organizations within which cooperative corporate cultures based on human social predispositions can evolve. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Economics present formal models that depict how the biased transmission of cultural contents via social learning processes within the firm influence employees’ behavior and the performance of the firm. The naturalistic approach suggested here provides a behaviorally enriched theory of the firm. It draws on insights from other disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, and sociology. more

Bioentrepreneurship in Germany

2008 Patzelt, Holger
Social and Behavioural Sciences
Biotechnology is one of the most promising technologies of the 21st century. This project analyzes different aspects of entrepreneurship research in the context of the biotechnology industry. Five studies show how young biotech firms can survive in times of hostile equity markets, escape technological crises, and gain competitive advantage through mergers. The results have implications for entrepreneurship research and managerial practice. more

Experimental studies to verify the satisficing theory

2007 Güth, Werner; Steiger, Eva-Maria
Behavioural Biology Social and Behavioural Sciences
The satisficing approach with its three constituent processes, aspiration formation, satisficing, and aspiration adjustment, is formally elaborated for a specific class of portfolio selection tasks. It is partly poorly confirmed by experimental data, indicating that bounded rationality requires teaching or, respectively, consulting, and learning. more

Patterns of organizational development and the transformation of industries

2006 Bünstorf, Guido; Günther, Christina; Witt, Ulrich; Worch, Hagen
Social and Behavioural Sciences
Firms undergo a regular, growth-induced developmental process, i.e., a sequence of irreversible changes in their organizational structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Economics analyse the dynamics of firm organization and the evolution of industries. They adopt a co-evolutionary approach by considering the interdependent processes of firm development and industrial evolution. more

Universities and regional economic growth

2005 Audretsch, David B.; Lehmann, Erik E.
Social and Behavioural Sciences
When the economic future of a region or country is discussed by politicians or the media, universities are often cited as key suppliers of knowledge and know-how for firms. Based on a unique and hand-collected data set of 285 quoted firms in high-tech and knowledge-based industries, it is shown that research-intense universities can foster firm growth, especially through their educational programs. more

A contest in the German weekly "Die Zeit" as a scientific experiment on bargaining behavior

2004 Güth, Werner; Schmidt, Carsten; Sutter, Matthias
Social and Behavioural Sciences
Max Planck researchers acquire experimental subjects in cooperation with the German weekly "Die Zeit" instead of running laboratory experiments with students. Their intent is to study decision-making processes among newspaper readers in bargaining situations. The results of the study can be summarized as follows: young male participants with an academic degree who participated in the experiment via Internet seek to maximize their payoff, which is crucial in many economic models. Older female participants, having submitted their decision by mail or fax, prefer fair or moral solutions. more
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