The Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, together with the

University of Cologne’s Graduate School of Economics (CGS-E) and the

University of Bonn’s Department of Law,

invite outstanding candidates to apply for doctoral fellowships in Economics and Law

within the

International Max Planck Research School on Behaviorally Smart Institutions (IMPRS BeSmart)

In a joint project, the IMPRS BeSmart offers doctoral positions starting in October 2020. We particularly encourage candidates with an interest in behavioral economics, law and economics, and interdisciplinary research questions to apply.

The IMPRS BeSmart combines approaches from Economics and Law. All human behavior is embedded in and guided by formal and informal institutions. The disciplines of both law and economics are complementary for analyzing the interplay of human behavior and institutions, and to develop institutions that promise outcomes that are individually or socially more desirable. Yet (neoclassical) law and economics starts from a narrow definition of human behavior. Addressing the key limitations of human behavior and deriving implications for institutional design from these limitations is the task of the proposed school.

The IMPRS BeSmart is jointly hosted by the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn, the University of Cologne, and the University of Bonn. International partners are the ETH in Zurich, the University of California at San Diego, the Norwegian School of Economics NHH, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

All PhD students will participate in the coursework offered by both the CGS-E and IMPRS BeSmart, starting in October 2020. The CGS-E program provides students with thorough, up-to-date knowledge of the theory, empirics, and econometric methodology of economics. The IMPRS’s program combines weekly lab meetings and seminars with Thesis and Topics workshops and a summer school every year. By the end of their first year, students will have finished the extensive coursework at CGS-E. Upon completion, students mainly conduct research and work on their respective theses.

Applicants for these joint positions are required to hold a Diploma, a Master’s Degree, or a State Exam with honors in one of the aforementioned disciplines, or an equivalent degree in a related discipline.

  • Applicants who want to graduate in economics will normally obtain their degree from the University of Cologne. They will be fully-fledged members of University of Cologne’s CGS-E, must collect 60 ECTS within the course program, and will be able to attain the CGS-E certificate alongside the IMPRS certificate.
  • Applicants who wish to graduate in law will normally obtain their degree from the University of Bonn and must meet the obligations that come with their regulations. They must collect 60 ECTS within the course program of the University of Cologne’s CGS-E, but may opt for courses at Masters level, according to their personal prerequisites.
  • The current list of courses offered by CGS-E during the winter term may be found here. More details on course contents are available here.

PhD students will receive an initiating scholarship during their first six to twelve months in the program, and will subsequently be offered a three-year doctoral position (50% TV E13, salary according to collective bargaining agreement for public servants). They will be integrated into a research group right away, have office space, and will have full access to the MPI’s infrastructure, with its library, lab, and other services.

To apply for the program, please go to and have the following documents ready to upload:

  • Letter of motivation (stating your research interests)
  • CV
  • University entrance qualifications
  • Academic certificates and/or academic transcripts
  • GRE score report
  • TOEFL or IELTS test score if no proof of language proficiency in English is given by the CV

Applicants are free to include further documents in their application.

Applicants who seek to persue a PhD in economics should use the link "IMPRS BeSmart: doctoral fellowships in Economics"; applicants who wish to persue a PhD in law should use the respective link "IMPRS BeSmart: doctoral fellowships in Law".

In addition, applicants will have to provide two letters of recommendation which have to be submitted by the respective recommenders themselves

  1. as a pdf document to, and
  2. in the original form to

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Inger Brandt
Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
53113 Bonn

Applications and letters of recommendation must be submitted by 31 March 2020, 23:59 CET. Applications that are incomplete by 31 March 2020 forfeit the right to be considered.

Applicants who present a concrete offer from another doctoral program may ask for an earlier decision.

The Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, the University of Cologne and the University of Bonn are equal opportunity employers. Applications from women with the requisite qualifications and interests are particularly welcome. We strive for gender and diversity equality and welcome applications from all backgrounds. The Max Planck Society, the University of Cologne and the University of Bonn are also seeking to increase the number of employees with severe disabilities. Applications from such candidates will be given special consideration.

Go to Editor View