GW Eng

Dear Members of the Verein für Socialpolitik,

Time flies: My term of office as chairman, and that of the entire VfS Management Board, is drawing to a close. This is already the last newsletter to which I have the honor of welcoming you. Take a look at the content below, with quite a few interesting articles.

Several topics in the newsletter are particularly worth mentioning. Most prominently, the annual meetings. The past meeting in Basel was a wonderful event and a post-pandemic reunion. Lots of interesting keynotes, panels, committees, receptions, and award ceremonies. Plus, the main attraction: you, the many Verein members who enlivened the meeting with all your contributions and conversations. Thank you! (And do check out the nice fotos.) Let us also mark our calendars for September 24-27, 2023. Meeting in Regensburg for our next annual meeting will be worth the trip, too.

A big topic for the Verein board is the announcement of our report on young economics, which we will present on Dec. 14, 2022, at 5 p.m., in a public panel. (A video link will follow.) We’ve been working hard on the topic of “young talent“, in a working group that formulated clear recommendations and will discuss them with outside experts in the panel. Please join the discussion!

And there are other, no less important contributions in the newsletter: The Career Development Officer reports more news on the Verein’s activities to support young scholars. The Equal Opportunities Officer gives information on a very difficult topic, sexual harassment. The 2022 annual conference award winners offer behind-the-scenes insights in short interviews. The “Baccalaureate Award for Students“ is becoming more established and it is also being awarded at more and more schools. Two other VfS awards are announced, namely the “Scientific Promotion Award“ of the Committee of Education Economics and the “Schmölders Award 2023“. Last but not least: we announce the newly elected members of the Management Board and the Executive Board. To these colleagues, and to all of you: I wish you much success with all your Verein activities – and a good time until our next reunion.

Viele Grüße

Georg Weizsäcker

VfS Standing Field Committees

In the past year, there have been changes in the chairmanship of several VfS standing field committees. The new chairpersons are:

  • History of Economic Thought: Rainer Klump
  • Environmental and Resource Economics: Katrin Rehdanz
  • Macroeconomics: Almuth Scholl

Many thanks to the previous committee chairpersons for their commitment!

VfS Elections

This year, the elections of the Management Board, the supplementary elections to the Executive Board and the elections of the VfS auditors took place. Furthermore, two changes in the association’s statutes were voted on. The election commission counted the votes - with the following results:

Management Board (2023-2024)

  • Klaus Schmidt (Designated Chair)
  • Kerstin Pull (Vice Chair)
  • Friedrich Breyer (Treasurer)
  • Rudolf Winter-Ebmer (Secretary)

Executive Board (2023-2026)

  • Andreas Peichl (ifo, LMU Munich)
  • Andrea Weber (CEU Central European University)
  • Almuth Scholl (Konstanz University)
  • Conny Wunsch (Basel University)
  • Silke Übelmesser (Jena University)
  • Natalia Danzer (FU Berlin)
  • Melanie Schienle (KIT)
  • Leo Kaas (Frankfurt University)

Cash Auditors (2023-2024)

  • Gunther Friedl (TU Munich)
  • Joachim Gassen (HU Berlin)

In addition, two amendments to the statutes of the association were voted on. The statutes of the association were changed in §§ 4 III, 6 I. Here you can find the statutes in the new form.

We would like to thank all members of the association who participated in the election.

DW Eng

News from the Equal Opportunities Officer

#Metoo in Economics

In recent weeks, numerous allegations of sexual harassment and abuse of power in economics have come up on social media. In a “me too firestorm“ (Linsfarne and Neale 2022), numerous colleagues from the field tweeted about abuse and harassment.

The problem is not new. Cases of sexual harassment in the United States became public some years ago (New York Times 2018, 2019a, 2019b). In a survey by the American Economic Association (Allgood et al. 2019), 23% of women reported that someone in their field tried to engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with them in the past 10 years, despite their best efforts to stop it. 6% of women reported attempted sexual assault within the field and 3% reported that they had been victims of sexual assault. 13% reported having been touched in a way that made them feel uncomfortable. Most assaults occurred at their own university; only in exceptional cases were university administrators or police informed. According to the literature, the low number of formal reports can be explained by the fact that many sexual assault victims fear negative repercussions for their own careers or that they do not expect that reporting would lead to any sanctions (McDonald 2012).

Victims of sexual assault suffer in numerous dimensions: primarily emotionally and psychologically (with effects extending to post-traumatic stress disorder), but subsequently also in terms of their job satisfaction and commitment to the organization (Burn 2019, McDonald 2012). Recent economic studies indicate that sexual harassment also results in low wages in the labor market: Women who have been harassed are more likely to move to lower-paying jobs to escape the harassment (Folke and Rickne 2022). Cici et al. (2021) found a striking increase in women’s productivity after accused harassers left the company and the company instituted actions against sexual harassment. Thus, it is also in the economic interest of institutions to address sexual harassment.

The Verein für Socialpolitik, together with the European Economic Association, is currently preparing a survey on the working climate in our discipline. In this context, questions on sexual harassment will also be asked. We expect this to provide us with more precise information about the extent of the problem in German-speaking countries and Europe and look forward to numerous participation.


CB eng

News from the Career Development Officer

The promotion of young economists is one of the core concerns of the association. In addition to the activities of the working group Career Development mentioned by Georg Weizsäcker, two other projects should be mentioned:
First, together with Rüdiger Bachmann (University of Notre Dame), Paul Heidhues (University of Düsseldorf) and Amelie Schiprowski (University of Bonn), we again offered a job market seminar at the last VfS Annual Conference. Over two days, we trained eight PhD students on how to master interview situations and what to consider when presenting a job market paper. This event format was financially supported by the Dr. Hans Riegel Foundation in Bonn.
On the other hand, reduced members of the association were again able to apply for a conference subsidy this year. In this way we promote the international presence of young economists with a subsidy of 500 €. In this context, I would like to appeal to the universities and research institutions to understand the award not as a reimbursement for travel costs, but as an award for the international representation of our young economists. The lecture awards are financed by donations provided by the Deutsche Bundesbank and the Swiss National Bank.

Abiturpreis 2022

Baccalaureate Award in Economics

The Baccalaureate Award in Economics was awarded to students throughout Germany for the fifth time this year. This award recognizes very good performance in the field of economics. With 486 awards, a new record was set this year. We are pleased that 239 female and 247 male students received a certificate, a textbook and a trial membership in the association.

We thank all the teachers who applied with their school for the 2022 Baccalaureate Award. We are pleased to cooperate with the Joachim Herz Foundation, which provides financial support for the Abiturpreis Wirtschaft.

Here you can find more information about the VfS Baccalaureate Award in Economics.

Dinner Stadtcasino

VfS Annual Meeting 2022: Review

From September 11 to 14, 2022, our VfS Annual Conference took place at the University of Basel. The title of the core conference was Big Data in Economics.

In three exciting keynotes, Raj Chetty (Havard University), Raffaella Sadun (Havard Business School), and Michael Lechner (University of St. Gallen) reported on how the availability of large datasets from administrative and corporate sources regarding the economic decisions of households and firms has fundamentally changed empirical research in the social sciences.

On the core conference panel, Kerstin Schneider (University of Wuppertal), Tobias Thomas (Statistics Austria), and Kurt Schmidheiny (University of Basel), moderated by Gert G. Wagner, clarified the challenges and opportunities that the use of Big Data delivers. The panelists also pointed out problems arising from restrictions on data access.

The open session featured more than 400 paper presentations from all areas of economics. The best paper presented at the conference was awarded the Reinhard Selten Prize“.

At the social evenings in the Tinguely Museum in Basel and in the Stadtcasino, several hundred conference participants came together to celebrate the awarding of the Gustav Stolper Prize and the Carl Menger Prize. Another award was the Hermann Heinrich Gossen Prize. Short interviews with the award winners can be found in the lower part of the newsletter.

We would like to thank the conference chairs

  •     Joachim Winter (LMU Munich), head of the core conference
  •     Stefan Felder (University of Basel), head of the local organization
  •     Thomas Siedler (University of Potsdam), head of the open conference

and especially the conference team of the Basel University for the excellent organization and hospitality!

Reinhard Selten Award 2022

Reinhard Selten Award

During the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Verein für Socialpolitik, Katharina Brütt and Huaiping Yuan were awarded the Reinhard Selten Prize (Young Author Best Paper Award) of 2022, which is endowed with 3,000 €. Thomas Siedler (Head of the Program Commission 2022) praised the paper of the awardees during the association meeting as outstanding.

The paper is titled Pitfalls of Pay Transparency: Evidence from the Lab and the Field“.


Here you can find a short interview with the award winners:

Dear Katharina Brütt,

Why did you study economics?

I was always fascinated by the human component in economics. I was interested in how we can formally model human interactions and enjoyed thinking about how we can test the predictions that arise in these models – whether this involves using existing data or designing new experiments.

What research questions are you currently working on?

In one line of my current research, I ask how we can design effective policies to close the gender pay gap. In this context, I also study the determinants of this pay gap. Furthermore, I work on how we can correct biased beliefs and how to influence belief formation.

Which big scientific question would you like to have an answer to?

It is tough to single out one specific question. One immensely important question right now is how we can tackle the polarization of society, as this polarization affects how we can fight today’s biggest challenges, from climate change to growing inequalities. To fight polarization, it is important to know more about how we form beliefs and how policymakers can shape them – for good or for bad.

And do you have a special Christmas wish?

I like it to be a surprise, but I also always enjoy a new board game. 


Dear Huaiping Yuan,

Why did you study economics?

I first heard about the many “irrational” choices that people consistently make in real life. I just wanted to know how and why we make these “mistakes”.  

What research questions are you currently working on?

I’m working on questions related to discrimination and inequality. For example, whether public observability could reduce discrimination in hiring decisions. 

Which big scientific question would you like to have an answer to?

This is outside of my field, but I would really like to know if aliens exist.  

And do you have a special Christmas wish?

Having experienced difficulties traveling this year, I just hope that there will be no more flight and train delays next year!

Thank you very much!

Hermann Heinrich Gossen Preis

Hermann Heinrich Gossen Award

The Hermann Heinrich Gossen Prize, endowed with 10,000 €, was also awarded at the Association’s Meeting. The winner was Christian Bayer (University of Bonn).

The aim of the award is to promote the internationalization of German economics. The main criterion for awarding the prize is publications in internationally recognized journals.

Here you can find more information about the Hermann Heinrich Gossen Award.


Here you can find a short interview with the award winner:

Dear Christian Bayer,

Why did you study economics?

I think there were three factors. At school, I was lucky enough to have a geography teacher who did a lot of economic geography in the advanced course: Thünen’s rings, trade with comparative advantages, etc. I found that all very fascinating and was intrigued by how you could think about things like economic activity in space in a model-based way. Secondly, I was influenced by the fact that in my youth unemployment increased permanently with every recession. The number of people permanently unemployed increased dramatically every few years. When I started studying in 1996, more than 4 million people were unemployed in Germany for the first time. The social effects were already being felt. Understanding where this came from was a driving factor for me and, of course, understanding what could be done about it.  The third factor was that Econ made it possible to understand all these exciting questions in a formal, “mathematical“ framework. 

What research questions are you currently working on?

My central concern is to understand how heterogeneity of households and firms affects the overall economy. There are many exciting sub-aspects to that. One large project I am working on is developing methods to estimate and measure the feedback effects of macroeconomic shocks on income and wealth distribution. In another project, I am looking at why East Germany is not catching up economically. Here we found that low collective bargaining coverage in small firms might be an issue. First of all, this leads to small companies paying particularly low wages.  That, in turn, favors when companies rely on business models that are more local and don’t need corporate growth - even among the particularly productive and innovative companies. This is not good for overall productivity production factors are not allocated well. A third project is about understanding why in Europe attitudes toward rigid fiscal policy vary so much across countries. Here we found that lack of minimum income benefits can be a key motive in southern Europe. It leads to a larger number of people who care about rapid economic stabilization through more active fiscal policy in a recession than in Northern Europe. There, the poorest are protected by basic welfare.  

Which big scientific question would you like to have an answer to?

Whether there are big questions ;).

And do you have a special Christmas wish?

Peace. But even in Europe, there probably won’t be any yet, because the Kremlin wants it that way.

Thank you very much!

Gustav-Stolper-Preis 2022

Gustav Stolper Award

The Gustav Stolper Award, endowed with 5,000 €, was also presented at the 2022 Association Meeting. The award went to Monika Schnitzer (LMU Munich).

Here you can find more information about the Gustav Stolper Award.


Here you can find a short interview with the award winner:

Dear Monika Schnitzer,

Why did you study economics?

I wanted to understand how poverty can be reduced. The economy seemed to me to be the central lever for this.

What research questions are you currently working on?

At the moment, I’m most concerned with the question of how competition policy measures affect innovation. I just studied this using the example of the breakup of AT&T in the 1980s, together with Martin Watzinger. We found that innovation rose sharply after the breakup.

What big science question would you like an answer to?

Is there life on other planets and if so, what does it look like? I’m afraid I won’t live to see the answer to that.

And do you still have a special Christmas wish?

I wish the people in Ukraine a Christmas full of hope and confidence that the war will end soon. I myself wish for Christmas days with lots of time with the whole family, delicious food from the latest Ottolenghi cookbook and heated discussions about current events in politics and the economy.

Thank you very much!


Carl Menger Award

In addition, the Carl Menger Award was presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting. This year, the award went to Ricardo Reis (LSE London). The award is jointly sponsored by the Deutsche Bundesbank, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank and the Swiss National Bank and is endowed with 20,000 €.

Here you can find more information on the Carl Menger Award.


Here you can find a short interview with the award winner:

Dear Ricardo Reis,

Why did you study economics?

I loved history when I was a teenager, understanding why human progress was sometimes so fast, other times slow, and and why some events lead to others. I was a poor writer though, but an ok mathematician. Economics allowed me to study “the causes of things“ using mathematics as the main language.

What research questions are you currently working on?

I am trying to understand why inflation rose so quickly in the last 12 months, and how its sudden arrival affected different parts of the production process and financial system. I am also trying to make sense of trends in different real interest rates, and how they affect public debt sustainability. And, finally, I have a research agenda ongoing for a few years on central bank swap lines and on Chinese monetary policy.

Which big scientific question would you like to have an answer to?

Why does the economy periodically spiral in crashes: either in inflation spurts, deep recessions, or financial crises.

And do you have a special Christmas wish?

Peace in Ukraine.

Thank you very much!

Panel Nachwuchs

Invitation to the VfS Panel on December 14, 2022

„WirSindHanna“ - Challenges and opportunities in the field of economics

Under #WirSindHanna, more and more scientists have been mobilizing in recent months against the difficult working conditions in research and teaching. In the meantime, the need for an improved employment situation and long-term career prospects has reached the general public.

Many agree that there is a comprehensive need for reform in the academic world. But what does the situation look like in the field of economics? The Verein für Socialpolitik, chaired by Georg Weizsäcker (2021-2022), has addressed this question in three stages:

First, a working group was established. This group designed a survey and asked young economists in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland about their current career situation. Following on from this, discussions were held with economics deans‘ offices and young academics were interviewed. The results have found their way into a report that shows various options for action in both the doc and post-doc areas.

This report will be presented to the general public on December 14 at 5 pm. In a panel discussion, renowned experts will discuss current challenges and recommendations for action to improve career opportunities for young academics. The aim is to improve working conditions for young scientists, to increase the attractiveness of science as an employer, and to counteract a brain drain of bright minds.

Panel participants:

  •     Peter-André Alt (President of the German Rectors‘ Conference)
  •     Christian Bayer (Young Talent Officer of the Verein für Socialpolitik)
  •     Sabine Kunst (Chairwoman of the Board of the Joachim Herz Foundation)
  •     Georg Weizäcker (Chairman of the Verein für Socialpolitik)

Moderation: Carolin Roth (Journalist)

After the opening statements and a short discussion, the audience is also invited to address questions to the panel.

VfS-JT 2023

VfS Annual Conference 2023

The 2023 Annual Meeting will be held at the Regensburg University, September 24-27, 2022. The theme of the core conference is Growth and the ‚soziale Frage’. In addition to the core conference, there will again be an Open Conference for which papers can be submitted for presentation from all areas of economics. In addition to individual papers, Organized Sessions are again possible. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2023 to March 1, 2023. For more information, please visit our homepage.

Call for proposals of the “Scientific Promotion Award“ of the Committee on Education Economics

The Standing Field Committee of Education Economics of the Verein für Socialpolitik is awarding its Wissenschaftlicher Förderpreis for the fifth time. The award honors the best dissertation in the field of education economics completed in 2021 and 2022 with prize money of 2,000 euros.

The award is intended to promote outstanding research in the economics of education and to give it public visibility. Eligible for the award are dissertations that deal with topics relevant to the economics of education in the German-speaking world. In addition to scientific excellence, social relevance is an important selection criterion.

The deadline is January 15, 2023.

Schmölders Award 2023

In 2023, the Public Finance Committee of the Verein für Socialpolitik awards the Schmölders Prize of the Verein für Socialpolitik. This prize, endowed by the Schmölders Foundation for Behavioral Research in Economic Life, is endowed with 3,000 € and is awarded on an annual basis, alternating between the Social Sciences Committee, the Public Finance Committee, and the Social Policy Committee.

The prize is awarded for essays by authors who are members of the Verein für Socialpolitik. Papers may be submitted from the field of behavioral economics related to finance that are distinguished by originality and a high level of scholarship. Interdisciplinary papers are welcome. Submitted papers may have been previously published, but the year of publication must not be more than three calendar years ago.

Submissions in PDF format can be sent to the chair of the Finance Committee, Prof. Dr. Robert Schwager (, by January 15, 2023.


At the end of the year, the term of office of the Management Board will come to an end. We do thank Georg Weizsäcker (VfS Chair), Caren Sureth-Sloane (Vice Chair) and Philipp Schmidt-Dengler (Secretary) for their great commitment over the past two years. Regina T. Riphahn and Friedrich Breyer will continue to serve on the Management Board for another term - Regina T. Riphahn as Chairperson and Friedrich Breyer as Treasurer. We are looking forward to the cooperation and all related projects!


Many thanks to all VfS members. Please feel free to contact the VfS office at any time with questions or suggestions and stay healthy.