The Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods was founded in 1997 as a temporary project group "Common Goods: Law, Politics and Economics" and trans formed into a permanent institute in 2003. Its mission is to study the law, economics, and politics of collective goods, defined to encompass all those goods whose provision and enjoyment are treated as community concerns.
In the early years, the institute had teams of lawyers and political scientists, led by Christoph Engel and Adrienne Héritier. When Adrienne Héritier left in 2003 to accept a joint chair at the European University Institute and the Schuman Centre in Florence, the Max Planck Society appointed the economist Martin Hellwig to replace her. At this point, therefore, the institute consists mainly of lawyers and economists.
In addition, there is a small group of psychologists. Initially brought in by Christoph Engel to support his behavioral law-and-economics approach to institutional analysis, in 2007 this turned into an independent Junior Research Group Intuitive Experts led by Andreas Glöckner.
From the beginning, the work of the institute had three main goals: It aimed to better understand collective-goods problems, to find better solutions, and to understand the political and legal processes of defining problems and choosing solutions. In the years of the project group, major research efforts concerned
- the law and politics of waste avoidance, recycling, and disposal,
- the governance of the internet, and
- the transformation of the nation state into a multi-level system of governance.
Today, the major research efforts of the institute are concerned with
- the analysis of incentive problems in public-good provision,
- the behaviorally informed design of institutions for the provision of collective goods,
- the organization and regulation of network industries: sector-specific regulation and antitrust
- the regulation of financial markets and financial institutions in order to safeguard financial stability.
The first two lines of research are intended to enlarge our understanding of foundations at a fairly general level. The last two lines of research are concerned with applications. Research objectives and strategies are laid out in this report.