Martin Hellwig and Katharina Pistor receive Max Planck Research Award

Excellent research focus on the regulation of international financial markets

July 09, 2012

The Max Planck Research Award 2012 goes to Martin Hellwig from the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn and Katharina Pistor from Columbia University School of Law (New York) for their work in the field of ‘regulating international financial markets’. The award winners each receive 750,000 EUR to finance their research, including in particular their cooperation with academics in other countries.

The Max Planck Research Award is one of Germany's most highly endowed academic awards. It is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and annually conferred on one researcher in Germany and one researcher abroad by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Max Planck Society. Each year, the award is devoted to a different topic, which alternates between natural sciences and engineering, life sciences and humanities. In light of recent developments, this year’s topic, ‘Regulating international financial markets’, is particularly important for our economies and societies.

Martin Hellwig and Katharina Pistor will receive the award for their outstanding academic achievements, which not only contribute to basic research but are also of great practical importance for policy discussion on how to reform the governance of the global financial system. The jury also considered the researchers’ personal commitment to international academic relations.

Martin Hellwig

The award committee described Martin Hellwig as one of the most influential German economists of his generation. He has been Director of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn since 2004. Previously, he worked at the Universities of Stanford, Princeton, Bonn, Basel, Harvard and Mannheim. He graduated in Economics from the University of Heidelberg in 1970 and received his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973. Martin Hellwig receives the award for his work on the economic effects of banking regulation, in particular on the role of aggregate risks, the macroeconomic repercussions of banking regulation and on systemic feedback effects in the financial sector. Already in the 1990s, Martin Hellwig made several fundamental contributions to our understanding of these issues. Since 2008, he has used the insights he has gained for further important work on the causes of the recent financial crisis, on the reform of banking regulation and on bank resolution. His work has had a major influence on academic and political discourse on the financial crisis and regulatory reform. Martin Hellwig has also been active in the field of political consultancy. From 1998 to 2006, he served on the German Monopolies Commission, including a spell as Chairman (2000–2004). Currently, he is Chairman of the Advisory Scientific Committee of the European Systemic Risk Board.

Katharina Pistor

Katharina Pistor has taught and researched as a law professor at Columbia University Law School since 2001 where she is now the Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law. After graduating from the University of Freiburg in 1988, she went on to postgraduate studies in London and Harvard and received her doctorate at the University Munich. She has held positions at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg and the Kennedy School of Government (Harvard); and was a guest professor at the Institute for Law and Finance (Frankfurt), the University of Pennsylvania and New York University. Katharina Pistor is a member of the Center of Economic Policy Research and the European Corporate Governance Institute (currently on the Board of Directors). Her consulting activities for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development highlight the policy relevance of her work.

Katharina Pistor is a leading international expert in the field of comparative corporate law, financial market regulation and institutional economics. She conducted groundbreaking and outstanding research work on legal and financial market developments in emerging markets and transition countries. The award honours, in particular, her research at the intersection of law and economics. The decision to honour Katharina Pistor was also taken in recognition and in the expectation of her continued commitment to building bridges between European and American legal culture.

The award ceremony and press conference will take place on 11 October 2012 in the Humboldt Carré in Berlin. An invitation to the media will follow.

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