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Individuals, Institutions and Societies


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Each one of us is part of society. But how do we influence society as individuals and how does society impact us in our own actions? How is it for institutions? How can we shape institutions that sustainably secure equal opportunities and social cohesion in the age of globalization and digitalization? These are the questions this profile area explores. Scientists want to research key influences on the social and economic choices we make such as efficiency resource protection, protection of art and cultural assets, agency and drivers of human motivation. 

In order to ascertain this wide spectrum of questions, many different perspectives need to be taken into account. Economical questions crossover with legal, political, sociological and religious questions. This list is by no means complete but makes clear that many subject areas are needed in this profile area.

The TRA integrates several existing research centers that span different faculties, such as the Forum Internationale Wissenschaft (Forum for International Science), the Käte Hamburger Kolleg "Law as Culture", the "Forschungskolleg normative Gesellschaftsgrundlagen", the International Center for Philosophy NRW, the Research Training Group NRW Digital Society, and others.

Data is an important asset for research in this Transdisciplinary Research Area. When there is no access to existing data, such as censuses or other official statistics, researchers build their own through large empirical studies and surveys. This is done, for example, in the BonnEconLab - one of the oldest laboratories for experimental economic research.

Inspired by tradition

The BonnEconLab was founded in 1984 by Reinhard Selten, who would later, in 1994, receive a Nobel Prize for his work in Economics. His courage to think differently still inspires scientists, such as the highly-awarded Prof. Armin Falk who leads the BonnEconLab today. This was also inspiration for the University of Bonn in collaboration with the University of Cologne to establish the Reinhard Selten Institute. Spokesperson there for Bonn is the highly-awarded Prof. Benny Moldovanu. He and his colleagues want to create a space were top researchers can come together and set-out their own research projects.

This is just one example of how scientists in Bonn continuously develop new ways to improve research. And their work bears fruit – in the Shanghai Ranking from the University of Jiaotong in China,University of Bonn's economic studies ranks first place nationally and 29th place internationally

Scientists at the University of Bonn not only research but also make an effort to give back the knowledge they have gained. The cooperation with politics is especially close, which is no surprise given that the questions of this Transdisciplinary Research Area are almost always relevant for politics. That is why Professor Isabel Schnabel, for example, belongs to the 10 most influencial economists in the German-speaking world, according to Frankfurt Allegmeine Zeitungs Economics ranking in 2017. Others take an active role in instiutions and communities by joining scientific advisories, as judges on the constitutional court or taking part in workshops and talk shows.

Cluster of Excellence: ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy


From the Research Area


Research Projects

EXC 2126 - ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy

SFB TR 224 - Economic Perspectives on Societal Challenges: Equality of Opportunity, Market Regulation, and Financial Stability

GRK 2281 - The Macroeconomics of Inequality

GRK 2291 - Gegenwart/Literatur. Geschichte, Theorie und Praxeologie eines Verhältnisses

BMBF: Käte Hamburger Kolleg "Law as Culture"

EU: ENERI - European Network of Research Ethics and Research Integrity

Akademieprojekt: Grundlagen, Normen und Kriterien der ethischen Urteilsfindung in dem Biowissenschaften-Referenzzentrum



1 Leibniz Prize:

Prof. Dr. Armin Falk (2009, on leave to briq)

1 Humboldt-Professorship:

Prof. Dr. Michael Neil Forster (2013-2018)

1 ERC Starting Grant:

Prof. Dr. Stephan Lauermann

2 ERC Consolidator Grants:

Prof. Dr. Christian Bayer, Prof. Dr. Moritz Schularick

1 ERC Advanced Grant:

Prof. Dr. Armin Falk (on leave to briq)



BGSE - Bonn Graduate School of Economics

Master of Science in Economics

Bachelor of Science "Volkswirtschaftslehre"



BICC - Bonn International Center for Conversion

BonnEconLab - Laboratory for Experimental Economics

briq - Institute on Behavior & Inequality

CASSIS - Center for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies;

CASTLE - Center for Advanced Studies in Law and Economics 

CENs - Center for Economics and Neuroscience

FIW - Forum Internationale Wissenschaft

HCM - Hausdorff Center for Mathematics

IAME - Institute for Applied Microeconomics

Institute for Financial Economics and Statistics

Institute for Macroeconomics and Econometrics

Institute for Microeconomics

IZA - Institute of Labor Economics

Käte Hamburger Kolleg "Law as Culture"

MPI - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

RSI - Reinhard Selten Intsitute


Prof. Dr. Thomas Dohmen
Institute for Applied Microeconomics

Prof. Dr. Clemens Albrecht
Department for Political Sciences and Sociology

TRA Manager
Phone:  +49 (0) 171 / 33 160 47 


Phone (work): +49 (0) 228 73-2477 


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