German Economic Institute

The German Economic Institute (IW) is a private economic research institute in Germany, which is a advocate of a liberal economic and social order. We work to improve understanding of how business and society function and interact. Learn more about our work.


As a group we provide services across the whole spectrum – from science and education to consultancy and communication. We offer our clients and members everything from a single source. At an average of 20 watts of energy consumption per brain our total workforce of well over 350 offers over 7,000 watts of thinking power for the German economy – and your success.

  • The German Economic Institute (IW) and its Research Units are the scientific powerhouse at the heart of the group. Here the research is conducted, the data processed and the knowledge generated on which our reputation is based.
  • IW Akademie is a collaboration between the IW and the TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences. It offers both executive education seminars on solving the conflict between capital and conscience and a parttime course for graduates of all faculties leading to a master’s degree in Behavioural Ethics, Economics and Psychology.
  • IW Consult is a service provider for commissioned research and consultancy. Working at the interface between research and practice, our consultants develop strategic solutions for companies, regions, business associations, government ministries and nonprofit organisations.
  • IW JUNIOR is our specialist for addressing a younger target group. School projects impart knowledge of business and economics to a new generation and offer them first-hand experience of running a business.
  • IW Medien offers communication and PR services. Our journalists, PR consultants, designers and internet specialists develop innovative solutions for partners and clients from business and business associations.

Organisation | PDF

Knowledge is the most valuable raw material for progress in our society, for economic growth and greater prosperity.

Creating and imparting economic knowledge and thus prompting change: this is the task the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) has set itself – with the clear objective of making our national economy fit for the future. We stand for free enterprise, competition and open markets.

Our studies, projects and policy recommendations identify the risks and opportunities for our economy and our society. This makes the Cologne Institute for Economic Research a highly respected voice in public discourse and a much-consulted source of information and advice. Our research results and position papers are eagerly debated and used extensively by policymakers, business leaders, the scientific world and the media.

We see ourselves as a service provider in economics and social science. From polls and statistical surveys of companies, business associations and the scientific world we obtain a constant stream of empirical information and new understanding of economic issues. The results of our work are published in printed and online media and thus made available to all those with an interest in our field.

The strategies behind corporate investment, entrepreneurial activity and government policy need to be based on sound scientific research. Providing this is the central task of the economists and social scientists at the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW).

Our world is rapidly changing. Globalisation, population growth, European integration, finance market regulation and digitalization are some of the more familiar examples of economic and social change.

Highly qualified staff, innovative ways of working and lean organizational structures enable us to make sophisticated analyses of such issues and to keep abreast of change. The degree of cooperation and collaboration between our research teams is exemplary. We are convinced that only with interdisciplinary research and continually updated knowledge of markets, social structures and economic conditions it is possible to develop bold, forward-thinking and ultimately successful strategies.

The advice and expertise of our economists are highly valued by ministries, government commissions and parliamentary committees at both federal and state levels. They hold teaching posts at universities and other institutions of higher education, author articles and studies for publication by the Institute and elsewhere and are in constant demand in the media for interviews and comment.

Mission Statement

Our mission

  • The German Economic Insitute (IW) is the private economic research institute in Germany.
  • The Institute and its subsidiaries combine research, consultancy and communication services to provide convincing solutions.
  • We believe in Germany’s socially responsible free market economy. We are advocates of a liberal economic and social order.
  • We work to improve understanding of how business and society function and interact and by doing so contribute to sustainable growth and long-term prosperity.

Our values

  • Our behaviour towards others – both inside and outside the Institute - is characterised by credibility, reliability and respect.
  • We cultivate a culture of trust. Our attitude to criticism and mistakes is constructive. Our communication is direct, transparent and unambiguous.
  • Our high performance culture offers both challenges and encouragement. We are highly skilled, motivated, open to change and take personal responsibility for our actions.
  • The compatibility of family and working life, our professional and personal development and a healthy working environment are especially important for us.

Our way

  • Our studies, projects and policy recommendations are methodically and empirically sound, socially relevant and state-of-the-art.
  • Our consultancy and communication services are client-oriented, creative and customised to their target group.
  • We combine our scientific expertise, consulting and media skills to create innovative one-stop solutions for our members and clients.
  • Our work is addressed to policy-makers, the general public, business and the scientific community.



The German Economic Institute is a registered association with a membership consisting of some 110 German business and employers' associations as well as a number of individual companies. Membership fees totalling approximately 12 million euros annually finance our regular scientific research and journalism. Additionally, collaborating particularly with other business associations, foundations and public institutions, we conduct research projects and carry out numerous studies financed by third parties.

Through their representation on its governing bodies members affect the general policy of the institute without influencing the content of individual studies or statements. Our research is based on empirical principles and sound scientific methodology. It is independent of individual interests and represents free enterprise in German business for the benefit of society as a whole.

The Institute and its members are united by an awareness that without its socially responsible free market economy our country would not have been able to achieve the prosperity for which it has so successfully striven over the last few decades. Looking to the future, it is equally important that we do nothing to restrict the economic strength of our country, our enterprises and our workforce, our small businesses and the self-employed, but do all in our power to enhance it. For only then can we achieve the level of innovation and economic success which is the basis of a better standard of living. We believe in the power of freedom and responsibility.

And that is why we at the German Economic Institute strive – from conviction and with full commitment – to advance the spirit of free enterprise.