Armin Falk

Armin Falk ( born January 18, 1968 in Bergisch Gladbach ) is a German economist.


Falk studied economics and philosophy and history at the University of Cologne. In 1998 he received his doctorate on the subject of Reciprocity and Wage Formation at Ernst Fehr (University of Zurich ), where he also completed his habilitation in 2003.

Falk is Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economics and Neuroscience and the Laboratory for Experimental Economics at the University of Bonn. He is " External Scientific Member" of the Max Planck Society ( and, as such, of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ), program director at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA ), Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research ( CEPR ), Fellow of the Center for Economic Studies ( CESifo ), research professor at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW ) and member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.


In research by Falk it is, generally speaking, to a better, empirical foundation of the economic model. While the traditional economic model (homo economicus ) postulated perfect rationality and self-interest, show the work of Falk, that human behavior is usually limited rational and that in addition to a narrow Eigennutzorientierung other motives of human behavior are relevant, especially social preferences such as fairness and trust.

Falk's research is interdisciplinary to a large extent and uses insights of experimental economics, social psychology, genetics and neuroscience. Methodically are field and laboratory experiments in the foreground, by neuroscientific methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging to be supplemented. Another focus is the analysis of representative questionnaire data.

Content, Falk has advanced two main areas, the analysis of economic preferences as well as psychological aspects of the labor market. The analysis of preferences and personality is of great importance for the economic and social sciences, since any model assumptions here about underlie. The focus is on the analysis of social preferences, as well as time and risk preferences, but also of personality traits. Funded by the European Research Council ERC Grants, among others the distribution of preferences in the population and socio-economic determinants examined.

A second important focus of Falk relates to psychological aspects of the labor market ( behavioral labor economics ). Research shows that in addition to material aspects, especially in the labor market issues such as social preferences, social comparison, fairness, trust, social recognition and intrinsic motivation play a crucial role. This has an impact on the working relationship, as well as the functioning of organizations and labor markets.

Prizes and awards

  • 2013: European Research Council ( ERC) Advanced Grant, five year, € 1.7 million on
  • 2011: Prize of the Berlin -Brandenburg Academy of Sciences
  • 2011: Yrjö - Jahnsson price
  • 2010: European Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • 2009: National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 2009: North Rhine- Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • 2009: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
  • 2008: European Research Council ( ERC) Starting Independent Researcher Grant, five year, about 1.34 million euro
  • 2008: Gossen Prize of the Association for Social Policy
  • 2007: Fellow of the European Economic Association
  • 2006: " John T. Dunlop Outstanding Scholar Award" of the Labor and Employment Relations Association
  • 2004: " CESifo Prize in Public Economics "
  • 1999: Prize of the Institute for Empirical Economic Research, University of Zurich for the best publication of an economist under 35

Writings ( after publication order)

  • With Nora Szech: Morals and Markets. In: Science Vol 340 No 6133 (2013 ): 707-711.
  • With Thomas Dohmen, David Huffman, Uwe Sunde: The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes. In: The Review of Economic Studies 79.2 (2012 ): pp. 645-677.
  • With Johannes Abeler, Lorenz Goette, David Huffman: Reference- Dependent Preferences and effort provision. In: American Economic Review ( 2011).
  • With Thomas Dohmen: Performance Pay and Multi- dimensional Sorting. Productivity, Preferences and Gender. In: American Economic Review ( 2011).
  • Andreas Kuhn, Josef Zweimüller: Unemployment and Right -wing Extremist Crime. In: Scandinavian Journal of Economics ( 2011).
  • With Thomas Dohmen: You get what you pay for. Incentives and Selection in the Education System. In: Economic Journal (2010).
  • With James J. Heckman: Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences. In: Science 326, 535 ( 2009).
  • With Bernd Weber, Antonio Rangel, Matthias Wibral: The medial prefrontal cortex exhibits money illusion. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS, 106 (13 ), pp. 5025-5028 ( 2009).
  • With Thomas Dohmen, David Huffman, Uwe Sunde: Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability? In: American Economic Review, 100 ( 3 ), pp. 1238-1260 (2010).
  • With Klaus Fließbach, Bernd Weber, among others: Social comparison Affects reward -related brain activity in the human ventral striatum. In: Science 23 November 2007: Vol 318 ( 5854 ), pp. 1305-1308.
  • Gift - Exchange in the Field. In: Econometrica 75, no. 5 (2007 ), pp. 1501-1511.
  • With Ernst Fehr, Urs Fischbacher: Testing Theories of Fairness. Intentions Matter. In: Games and Economic Behavior 62, 1 (2008 ), pp. 287-303.
  • With Ernst Fehr, Christian Zehnder: Fairness Perceptions and Reservation Wages. The Behavioral Effects of Minimum Wage Laws. In: Quarterly Journal of Economics 121 (4 ) (2006 ), pp. 1347-1381.
  • Michael Kosfeld: The Hidden Cost of Control. In: American Economic Review Vol 96 No. 5 (2006 ), pp. 1611-1630.
  • With Andrea Ichino: Clean Evidence on Peer Effects. In: Journal of Labor Economics, 2006, 24 ( 1 ), pp. 39-57.
  • With Urs Fischbacher: A Theory of Reciprocity. In: Games and Economics Behavior 54 (2 ) (2006 ), pp. 293-315.
  • With Ernst Fehr, Urs Fischbacher: Driving Forces Behind Informal Sanctions. In: Econometrica 7 (6 ) (2005 ), pp. 2017-2030.
  • With Thomas Dohmen, David Huffman include: Individual Risk Attitudes. New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally - Validated Survey. In: Journal of the European Economic Association (IZA DP 1730) ( 2005).
  • Markus Knell: Choosing the Joneses. On the endogeneity of reference standards. In: Scandinavian Journal of Economics 106 (3 ) (2004 ), pp. 417-435.
  • Martin Brown, Ernst Fehr: Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions. In: Econometrica 72 (2004 ), pp. 747-780.
  • With Ernst Fehr, Urs Fischbacher: On the Nature of Fair Behavior. In: Economic Inquiry 41 (1 ) (2003 ), pp. 20-26.
  • With Simon Gächter: Reputation and Reciprocity. Consequences for the Labour Relation. In: Scandinavian Journal of Economics 104 (2002), pp. 1-26.
  • With Ernst Fehr: Psychological Foundations of Incentives. In: European Economic Review 46 (2002 ), pp. 687-724.
  • With Ernst Fehr: Wage Rigidities in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market. In: Journal of Political Economy 107 (1999), pp. 106-134.
  • Reciprocity and Wage Formation. Dissertation, University of Zurich, Shaker -Verlag, Aachen 1999, ISBN 3826557751