Dr. Fabian Winter

Dr. Fabian Winter

Head of Research Group Mechanisms of Normative Change

I have a background in sociology with quite some exposure to econ over the last decade or so. In the past I have worked at the Max-Planck-Institute for Economics in Jena, the ETH Zürich, and the University of Bern. I also had a number of research stays at the University of Zürich.

Professionally, I am interested in social norms and how they evolve over time. For most of my time, I am an experimental social scientist, but I also use surveys, computer simulations or Big Data stuff to answer the questions I am interested in. Why is it that some norms are unexpectedly stable up to a tipping point, like homophobia in football, but change rapidly once they start to do so? Or why, in contrast, are the normative conflicts about gender equality so persistent? And what stabilizes revenge norms even after effective legal orders have been established? Apparently, social and legal norms are not made for eternity. At any point in time, old norms erode and new norms emerge. Yet, normative change is often eruptive. And norms can be sticky, even if they almost completely lack societal support. The Research Group "Mechanisms of Normative Change" studies the mechanisms determining these different dynamics of normative change from an interdisciplinary perspective. We aim to contribute to the understanding and management of social change using a broad range of experimental and non-experimental empirical methods.

I also have a DFG-funded project on Volunteering under Population Uncertainty.

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