Armin Falk
Armin Falk - 2011.jpg
Born (1968-01-18) 18 January 1968 (age 54)
InstitutionUniversity of Bonn
Behavioral economics
Alma materUniversity of Cologne
University of Zurich
Ernst Fehr
AwardsYrjö Jahnsson Award (2011)
Leibniz Prize (2009)
Gossen Prize (2008)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Armin Falk (born 18 January 1968) is a German economist. He has held a chair at the University of Bonn since 2003.


Education and career

Falk studied economics as well as philosophy and history at the University of Cologne. In 1998 he obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich under the supervision of Ernst Fehr.

Falk is Professor of Economics and Director of the Behavior and Inequality Research Institute (briq),[1] as well as the Laboratory of Experimental Economics at the University of Bonn. He is external scientific member of the Max Planck Society (and as such a member 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 council of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. Furthermore, he is affiliated with the Institute for New Economic Thinking.


Falk's research interests include microeconomics, behavioral economics, and neuroeconomics. He has published in renowned journals like the American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Econometrica, and Science . In the German Handelsblatt ranking of 2010, which analyzes current research output of economists in Germany, Austria, and German speaking Switzerland in terms of quality of publications since 2005, Falk reached the 8th place.

In a broad sense, Falk's research is about obtaining a better empirical foundation of economic behavior. While the traditional economic model of individual behavior postulates perfect rationality and egoism (homo oeconomicus), the work of Falk demonstrates that human behavior is better described by bounded rationality. In addition, Falk shows that social preferences such as fairness and trust are important determinants of behavior.

His research is highly interdisciplinary and builds on insights from experimental research, social psychology, genetics, and neuroscience. In terms of methods, Falk mainly uses experiments, both in the lab and in the field, complemented by neuroscientific methods, e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging. An additional focus is the analysis of representative survey data.

The research of Falk can broadly be divided into two main areas, the analysis of economic preferences and psychological aspects of the labor market. A better understanding of preferences and personality is of great importance for economic and social science, as virtually every model in that area needs to make assumptions on individual behavior. A key focus has been the analysis of social preferences, as well risk and time preferences, but also personality. Supported by an ERC Starting Grant, Falk studies the distribution of preferences in the population as well as socioeconomic determinants of preferences.[2]

A second important focus of Falk's research has been the analysis of psychological aspects in labor markets (Behavioral Labor Economics). This line of research demonstrates that in particular in labor market contexts, motives such as social preferences, social comparison, trust, social approval, and intrinsic motivation play an important role. This has implications for work relations, as well as the functioning of organizations and labor markets.

Awards and honors

Selected publications


  1. ^ "Strategic Restructuring of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)" (PDF). December 15, 2015. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  2. ^ [1], Understanding Preferences: Measurement, Prevalence, Determinants and Consequence.
  3. ^ "Congratulations to our 2021 Fellows". The Econometric Society. September 22, 2021. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  4. ^ "Fellows | EEA". Retrieved 2021-03-22.