Behavioral Economics and Business Ethics

This research unit investigates the influence of institutions such as values, standards, rules and laws on the state, society, business and individuals.

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Its work is a response to the fact that psychological and institutional influences are still neglected by many economists, with a consequent weakening of the explanatory power of economic models. The IW scientists point to the basis of economic policy in political structures and link their work to behavioural economics, thus taking account of psychological and sociological factors. Additionally, the researchers make use of the insights of modern institutional economics, which focuses on the costs of contract negotiations and processes (transaction costs) and the importance of incentives for human behaviour. On the basis of these interdisciplinary theoretical approaches, our economists then develop analyses and practical policy recommendations relating particularly to the ethical dilemmas of companies and commerce.

Cooperation Partners

    • Technische Köln – Schmalenbach Institut für Wirtschaftswissenschaften
    • Universität zu Köln – Institut für Wirtschafts- und Sozialpsychologie
    • Universität Wien – Institut für Arbeits-, Organisations- und Wirtschaftspsychologie
    • Universität Linz – Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre
    • Die Zukunft der Arbeit – Roman Herzog Institut
    • Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung
    • Katholische Akademie in Berlin
    • Evangelische Akademie zu Berlin
    • Bund Katholischer Unternehmer
    • Arbeitskreis Evangelischer Unternehmer in Deutschland
    • Deutsches Netzwerk Wirtschaftsethik

    Sections of the Research Unit

    Behavioral Economics

    The researchers integrate psychological insights into economic theory and provide a better understanding of real human behaviour. Thus, behavioural anomalies are identified based on which suggestions for better decision making of individuals, corporations and politics are provided.

    Business Ethics

    The researchers address conflicts of interest, especially between economic and moral/economic/societal aims. Reasons and accelerators for immoral behaviour are identified and organizational as well as political structures suggested to dissolve the conflicts in favour of a more integral view of profit, people and planet.

    Our research has a special focus on international comparison of countries. Thus, we compare EU Member States with other countries and regions with regard to regulation, institutions, trust, social capital, justice and economic performance.

    Dominik H. Enste

    Prof. Dr. Dominik H. Enste

    Head of the Research Unit Behavioral Economics and Business Ethics

    Tel+49 221 4981-730


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    Theresa Eyerund

    Theresa Eyerund

    Economist in the Project Future of Work

    Tel+49 221 4981-783


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    Louisa Marie Kürten

    Louisa Marie Kürten

    Economic Research Consultant

    Tel+49 221 4981-785


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    Lena Suling

    Economic Research Consultant of the IW Akademie

    Tel+49 221 4981-816

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    Anna-Carina Tschörner

    Anna-Carina Tschörner

    Consultant at the IW Akademie

    Tel+49 221 4981-689

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    Julia Wildner

    Julia Wildner

    Economic Research Consultant of the IW Akademie

    Tel+49 221 4981-818

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