Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Max­Planck­Research Magazine

Issue 2017

MaxPlanckResearch 4/2017

Getting the Trolls Under Control

Whether it’s security, environmental protection, infrastructure or the internet – everybody has to play by the rules if we are to reap the benefits of collective goods. Fabian Winter of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn is studying the conditions needed for this to happen, and also providing surprising support for political intervention in social media.

Issue 2014


Blank Space
Someone did quite a job tidying up here. Even the curtains are all pushed neatly to the same side. The blue of the individual image elements harmonizes almost too well. But wait: Couldn’t they have also set the chair backs at the same level? And why are the number signs on the booths so mixed up? Where are we, anyway? In a deserted call center? At a polling station? Is science being done here when no one is looking? Let’s reveal the secret: The image shows the oldest lab for experimental economic research in Europe, the BonnEconLab. Scientists have been studying human economic behavior here since as long ago as 1984. To date, nearly 30,000 people have participated in their experiments. The Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods also regularly uses the lab. Research subjects with a penchant for experiment can earn money by “playing” the test games at the BonnEconLab. Whether as market participants, as bidders in an auction, or in negotiations: the test subjects continually make more or less successful decisions. Their success, on which the final reward for the individual participants depends, is influenced to a substantial degree by the decisions of their fellow players. Chance also plays a role – just like in real life. Experimental economics was long a controversial subject within the field of economics. With game theory came the first economic experiments in the 1960s. But people were slow to realize that experimental findings must be used more and more as a basis for economic research. Today, experimentation is a recognized research method in economics – and German researchers were at the forefront right from the start.
Issue 2012

MaxPlanckResearch 2/2012

Experiments in Temptation
Every legal system in the world punishes corruption – but the punishments vary widely. The “how” is something that Christoph Engel, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, and his colleagues Sebastian Goerg and Gaoneng Yu are studying in a laboratory experiment at two universities in Germany and China.
Issue 2009

MPR 4 /2009

Do Bonuses Do the Trick?
Incentives for managers were used as far back as the 19th century. However, they proved to be not necessarily a profitable investment for the company.

MPR 3 /2009

Fire Enhancers within the Financial System
It was not merely greed on the part of mortgage banks that caused the fiasco.

MPR 1 /2009

Climate Protection without Borders
Stabilizing the world’s climate and simultaneously supplying the world with energy requires technical innovation and creativity at the political level.
Issue 2007
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