Across the research fields, IW scientists form three research groups. Learn more about our understanding of science.
- The scientific work of the German Economic Institute is independent and solution-oriented, internationally networked and socially relevant, methodologically open and interdisciplinary. We address the scientific discourse of experts, the general public as well as opinion leaders in politics, business and society. We want to be an audible voice in the economic policy discourse in Germany.
- Our work is innovative and confronts the scientific discourse: On the basis of scientifically recognized standards, we apply new methods, use new data sets, discuss new arguments and provide solution-oriented answers to current questions in economic analysis and economic policy. Our statements are theoretically founded and, where it is methodologically and empirically possible, evidence-based. We ensure that both the data basis and the methodological approaches are comprehensible. Modern methods of empirical economic and social research are as much a part of our tools as in-depth analyses of the institutional and political-economic conditions of economic developments.
- We do not exclude any theoretical and methodological approach, because diversity and competition promote progress in the sciences. The decisive factor is not a traditional paradigm, but whether and how a scientific approach leads further in the search for decision-guiding and action-relevant knowledge. Our research is not limited to economics, but is connectable to the debates and insights of other disciplines, such as ethics, history, education, political science, psychology, law, and sociology.
- Our research is aware of its normative conditionality. Every science of human social action requires a normative clarification of the concept of man. Freedom and (co-)responsibility are the central values for us. We see the human being as a being capable of freedom and responsibility, who in this sense is enabled and called upon to competent decisions and actions. In our view, open, liberal and democratic societies require a liberal and competitive economic order that counts personal responsibility and shared responsibility among its constitutive elements.