Cluster Proposal "ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy" Selected by German Research Foundation as Part of Excellence Strategy

September 28, 2018

Directors Hellwig and Sutter to Form Part of a Team of Principal Investigators

"ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy", a joint proposal from the universities of Bonn and Cologne, is the only mainly economics-based proposal in Germany to have been selected as a so-called Cluster of Excellence within the framework of the German Universities Excellence Initiative. The researchers will study the functioning and workings of markets, as well as the reasons for the failure of these markets in the face of societal challenges, such as global financial crises, increasing inequality and digitization. The Cluster of Excellence goes beyond traditional analyses of economic policy by systematically combining model-based theoretical approaches and behavioural explanatory models with legal and political frameworks. In this way, the interdisciplinary working groups can offer political decision-makers innovative solutions that have so far barely found their way into economics and economic policy: How can market power be measured and how should it be faced in a digital age where many services are available virtually free of charge and are instead paid for by people disclosing their data? Further, what consequences does this have for consumer protection? What influence do preferences for fairness or justice have on the design of minimum wages or inheritance taxes? Can and should individual behaviour be controlled by instruments such as nudging if this appears to be for the benefit of the individual? The ECONtribute network intends to stimulate an intensive exchange between top research, politics and the public. The research will be undertaken in the Reinhard Selten Institute, which was founded by both universities in 2017.

Prof. Dr. Isabel Schnabel (University of Bonn) and Prof. Dr. Felix Bierbrauer (University of Cologne), both of whom are former members and current affiliates of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, will act as spokespersons. Professors Martin Hellwig and Matthias Sutter, respectively the former and the current director of this Max Planck Institute, will be among the principal investigators.

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