The Alfred-Weber-Institute houses the University of Heidelberg Economics Department. The department is part of the Faculty of Economics & Social Sciences, which also includes the departments of Political Science and Sociology.
Personality and economic interactions
People’s intelligence and personality can have important implications for their economic interactions. Andis Sofianos and his colleagues from the UK and the US study how such traits affect group outcomes in repeated cooperation settings. They find that intelligence helps groups to identify profitable strategies, and to follow these strategies consistently when distracted by short-term gains that are costly in the long term. Importantly, they show that the difference in behavior across intelligence groups is not due to different attitudes towards social cooperation, but rather due to differences in learning from the experienced outcomes in the interactive settings. The results have important implications for team composition, as well as broader implications for how personality traits affect economic interactions in society. The results will be published in the Journal of Political Economy. Details and materials can be found on Andis’ website.
12th HeiKaMaX Workshop
On October 18th, the 12th HeiKaMaX experimental Workshop took place in Heidelberg, bringing together experimental economists from the Universities of Heidelberg, Mannheim and Karlsruhe. The workshop included work on bargaining, information disclosure, and decision making under uncertainty, among others. Details can be found here.
Market index for cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin for example) have recently received much attention, with their prices gaining momentum lately. Joining a competition on the design of market indices for such currencies organized by Lykke.com marketplace, Onno Kleen and Christopher Zuber proposed a market index to be the weighted average of the 20 largest cryptocurrencies' market capitalization. The purpose of their index is to closely follow the value of cryptocurrencies, and to reflect both short-term movements and long-term trends. They address cryptocurrency-specific challenges as, for example, distinct market behavior around currency splits. They also suggest tracking the index composition in real time, which is not done in typical asset price indices. For their technical paper, they were awarded the first prize in the competition. Their paper can be found here. Further information on the competition can be found here.
New Assistant Professors
The AWI welcomes Liza Charroin (Lyon, Group Decisions and Networks), Andis Sofianos (Warwick, Behavioral Economics), and Christopher Kops (Cologne, Decision Theory) as new assistant professors in economics. All three have their offices in the Bergheimer Strasse 58, and look forward to interaction with students and faculty.
HeiKaMEtrics Inaugural Conference
The inaugural conference of the HeiKaMEtrics Network on Financial Econometrics took place at the International Academic Forum Heidelberg on September 14-15, 2017. The opening of the HeiKaMEtrics Network was celebrated with the HeiKaMEtrics Lecture in memory of Emil J. Gumbel held by Professor Eric Ghysels (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) in the Alte Aula of Heidelberg University. For more Information on the HeiKaMEtrics Network see: www.heikametrics.de
Handelsblatt Ranking of Economics Departments
In the 2017 Handelsblatt Ranking of Economics Departments in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, the AWI ranks 11th. In the previous rankings in 2013 and 2015 ranked 12th and 10th, respectively. In the underlying ranking of individual researchers, Axel Dreher and Stefan Trautmann are placed within the top 100 out of approximately 3000 ranked researchers in economics, at ranks 60 and 90.
AWI Assistant Professors accept Professorships in Erlangen-Nuremburg and Berlin
Christine Binzel will move to a full professorship for economics with a focus on the Middle East at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg as of October 1st. Israel Waichman accepted a full professorship at Bard College Berlin, a liberal arts college. He will start his new appointment in fall 2017.
Beijing – Lyon –Heidelberg Workshop on Inequality
Christiane Schwieren organized a workshop bringing together experimental and empirical economists from the Beijing Normal University (BNU) Business School, GATE Lyon-St Etienne, and the University of Heidelberg. The workshop aimed to reinforce the collaboration between the participating institutions in research and training activities in the field of economic inequality. The program can be found here.
Behavioral Finance for Policy and Regulation
Stefan Trautmann and Christian König organized a workshop bringing together experts in the field of behavioral finance to discuss opportunities and limitations of the behavioral approach for policy applications. Details on the work program can be found here.
Research on business cycle forecast errors
Many studies have shown that forecasts for GDP growth are systematically upward biased. In his recent research, Jonas Dovern shows that this finding masks considerable differences across business cycle states. Growth forecasts for recessions are subject to large negative errors while forecasts for recoveries are subject to small positive errors. In contrast, forecasts for expansions do not exhibit any systematic errors. Thus, forecasters seem to try to issue forecasts which are unbiased conditional on being in an expansion, rather than forecasts which are unbiased overall. Details on the study, published by the International Journal of Forecasting, can be found here.
Workshop on Exchange Rate Adjustment
Zeno Enders (AWI) and Gernot Müller (University of Tübingen) are organizing the workshop "Exchange Rate Adjustment in the Euro Area" in the Framework of the CESifo Venice Summer Institute 2017. It takes place on San Servolo, 12-13 June. Further information can be found here.
International Ranking of Economics Departments
The 2017 Tilburg University Economics Schools Research Ranking puts the Alfred-Weber-Institute on rank 126 worldwide. The ranking is based on publications in the most prestigious international economics journals in the period 2012 through 2016, and does not discount for department size. Among the 68 ranked German universities, the Alfred-Weber-Institute is ranked 6th. More information on the ranking can be found here.
Marsilius Fellowship awarded to AWI members
Christian Conrad, Zeno Enders and Christiane Schwieren have been awarded Marsilius Fellowships for the class of 2017. Information on their projects can be found here.
Research on Inequality
Dietmar Fehr has received DFG funding for a project on "Perceptions of inequality: consequences for trust, social networks and preferences." The research project aims to provide causal evidence on the impact of inequality on social networks, trust, and preferences, using data from a randomized controlled trial, representative survey experiments, and lab experiments.
The side effects of legal default rules
Default rules represent an important element of contract law. They determine contractual obligations as long as the contractual parties do not explicitly override them by any other agreement, thus reducing transactions costs by providing standard rules. However, default rules may come at a cost. In her recent research, Isabel Marcin shows that default rules may bias valuations such that the initial default distribution of rights is likely to influence agreements. Details on the research published in Review of Law and Economics can be found here.
Matching Children to Daycare Spots
Andreas Reischmann joined the ZEW Mannheim as a Research Associate. He will work with the Market Design group on mechanisms to efficiently match children to daycare spots. Information on the group and its research can be found here.
New Assistant Professorship in Microeconomics
As of February 2017, Dietmar Fehr will join the AWI as a Junior Professor in Microeconomics. His research and teaching specializes in behavioral and experimental economics. Although his main focus is micro economic, Dietmar Fehr’s work on inequality and coordination in multiple-equilibria settings is also relevant to macro-economic problems. Details on his research and teaching can be found here.
To Shoot or not to Shoot
To shoot or not to shoot (and wait for the next opportunity) is an important decision for a hunter. As human hunters subject wildlife populations to mortality rates that far exceed natural rates, it is important to understand what shapes hunting selection patterns. Florian Diekert and colleagues developed a theoretical model of hunting behavior and analyzed data on red deer hunting incidents from more than 250 locations in Norway between 1999 and 2010. The results show that a number of constraints, including nearing the close of a hunting season, few animal sightings, and competition among hunters, increase the likelihood that a hunter would shoot an animal. The full article, published in PNAS, can be found here.
Experimental Economics Workshop for Junior Researchers
The first HeiKaMaxY workshop took place on Friday, November 25, 2016. The HeiKaMaxY brings together young researchers from Heidelberg, Karlsruhe and Mannheim for one day to discuss both complete papers and research ideas in experimental and behavioral economics. More information on the program can be found here.
10th HeiKaMaX Workshop
On November 18th, the 10th HeiKaMaX Workshop will take place at the ZEW in Mannheim. The workshop brings together experimental economists from the Universities of Heidelberg, Mannheim and Karlsruhe. The workshop includes work on bargaining, information disclosure, and decision making under uncertainty, among others. Details can be found here.