University of Cologne

Excellence Center for Social and Economic Behavior  

The Center for Social and Economic Behavior (C-SEB) at the University of Cologne (UoC) brings together Cologne-based researchers from economics, management science, and psychology. Together with internationally renowned scientists from Europe and the USA, they investigate the fundamental principles and behavioral mechanisms that affect social and economic behavior. Since its establishment in 2019, the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute is an important partner.

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Social and economic behavior is shaping almost all aspects of our lives. But it does not only influence the actions of individuals. Behavior and its underlying motivation and cognition, also affects the success of societies, politics, markets and organizations. Understanding its determinants, and how it can be ‘managed’, is thus of crucial importance for understanding and addressing major challenges to society and humanity.

C-SEB aims to develop an empirically based theory of the institutions that define economic incentives and of the conditions that influence information processing in social and economic contexts. Using a behavioral economics and social cognition approach, the center examines how these mechanisms can be designed and manipulated. C-SEB seeks to build a bridge between laboratory research and real-world contexts in order to contribute to solutions to contemporary challenges in the economy.

Our Aims

Scientific exchange

C-SEB runs various programs to create a productive research environment and to promote interdisciplinary collaboration among scientists. In order to foster communication across disciplines and research units, the center regularly organizes workshops and conferences with international guests.
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Research funding

C-SEB provides funding for outstanding individuals and excellent collaborative research projects in the field of behavioral economics and social cognition. There are six funding lines at the moment that are designed to serve different purposes and target groups.
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Equal opportunity & junior researcher promotion

C-SEB is strongly committed to promote equal opportunities in academia and to advance the careers of junior researchers. The center assists its members with career planning and with reconciling academic and family life.
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Press Releases

The Center for Social and Economic Behavior (C-SEB) is seeking Student Assistants and looks forward to receiving your application no later than 31.01.2024.

Pia Pinger receives the prestigious ERC Starting Grant for her project “OPPORTUNITY – Inequalities in Decision-Making at Critical Junctions in …

Matthias Sutter‘s new book “Der menschliche Faktor oder worauf es im Berufsleben ankommt” has just been published in its second …

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In the media

FAZ, 03.12.2023 | Ralph Bollmann & Marcus Theurer

“Die Frage ist, ob der gewaltige Aufwand, der für die Klimakonferenzen betrieben wird, noch in einem vernünftigen Verhältnis zu den Ergebnissen steht, die von den Treffen zu erwarten sind. […] ‘Wir scheitern seit 30 Jahren an immer denselben Problemen’, beklagt Ockenfels, der sich seit Langem mit den Problemen internationaler Klimaschutz-Verhandlungen befasst. […] ‘Es gibt sonst kein einziges internationales Kooperationsabkommen, das auf freiwilligen Selbstverpflichtungen basiert’, sagt der Kölner Ökonom Ockenfels. ‘Aus gutem Grund. Solche Verträge funktionieren nur mit wechselseitigen Zusagen.'”

VoxEU Column, 04.11.2023 | Axel Ockenfels & Alvin Roth

“The European Commission is considering new ways to regulate the ‘substances of human origin’ – including blood, plasma, and cells – used in medical procedures from transfusions and transplants to assisted reproduction. This column argues that such legislation jeopardises the interests of both donors and recipients. While sympathetic to the intentions behind the proposals – which aim to ensure that donations are voluntary and to protect financially disadvantaged donors – the authors believe such rules overlook the effects on donors, on the supply of such substances, and on the health of those who need them.”

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Clausing, K., Cramton, P., Ockenfels, A., & Wolfram, C. (2023).

“COP28: Strategische Klimakooperation.” Wirtschaftsdienst, 2023(12), 1–1.

Fang, X., Goette, L., Rockenbach, B., Sutter, M., Tiefenbeck, V., Schoeb, S., & Staake, T. (2023).

“Complementarities in Behavioral Interventions: Evidence from a Field Experiment on Resource Conservation.” Journal of Public Economics, 228, 105028. Advance online publication.

Hovanessian, N., Minasyan, G., Nurbekyan, A., Polborn, M., & Polborn, T. (2023).

“Can Teachers Learn Online? – Evidence From Armenia During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Education Economics. Advance online publication.

Liu, Z., Luan, M., Li, H., Stoker, J. I., & Lammers, J. (2024).

“Psychological Power Increases the Desire for Social Distance but Reduces the Sense of Social Distance.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 110, 104528. Advance online publication.

Charness, G., Cobo-Reyes, R., Eyster, E., Katz, G., Sánchez, Á., & Sutter, M. (2023).

“Improving Children’s Food Choices: Experimental Evidence from the Field.” European Economic Review, 159, 104562. Advance online publication.
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