Chairwoman's Message

Dear members of the Verein für Socialpolitik!

At the beginning of the year, I took over the chairmanship from Georg Weizsäcker. I would like to thank both, him and the entire Management Board, most sincerely for their commitment over the past years. During this time, the topic of promoting young talent was at the top of the chairman’s agenda. The results of this project were reported in the April 2023 issue of the ”Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik”.

For the association, the current year is all about its foundation 150 years ago. To mark the occasion, we launched a joint project with the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection some time ago. With the support of renowned authors, we are documenting the contributions of economics to solving societal challenges. We will soon be able to host the resulting texts and videos on the association’s website. Individual contributions will be printed regularly in the ”VfS 150” series of the ”Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” until our Annual Conference. During the Annual Conference we will celebrate our big anniversary in a ceremony. I am looking forward to it.

During my chairship of the association, I am particularly concerned with the issue of access to research data for economists in German-speaking countries. Our survey in January revealed a considerable need for improvement. The association’s WG Data Access is working on statements that we will present and discuss, among other things, on the VfS panel at this year’s Annual Conference.

I hope to welcome you all to our meeting in Regensburg in September. In the aftermath of the pandemic, we are sure to have a special appreciation for this event.

With best regards,

Regina T. Riphahn
Chairwoman of the Verein für Socialpolitik

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:

  • Joachim Winter - Econometrics
  • Armin Schmutzler - Industrial Economics
  • Guido Bünstorf - Evolutionary Economics
  • Stephan Lauermann - Economic Theory
  • Gernot Müller - International Economics

Many thanks to the previous committee chairpersons for their commitment!

Career Advancement for Women
Equal Opportunities Officer

This year the Verein für Socialpolitik celebrates its 150th anniversary. Professor Allgoewer of the Hamburg University has taken this as an opportunity to shed light in particular on the early history of women in the association. The results will soon be available in the volume ”Studien zur Entwicklung der ökonomischen Theorie” (published by the Standing Committee for the History of Economic Thought). They will also be made tangible through a poster exhibition at this year’s Annual Meeting.

At the time the Verein für Socialpolitik was founded, women were forbidden to participate in political associations, and women were also not admitted to university studies. As colleague Allgoewer shows, the first three female members joined the association in 1895/96. Elisabeth Gnauck-Kühne, Gertrud Dyhrenfurth and Margarethe Friedenthal were all active in the women’s movement as well as in the social reform movement. The first two were only able to enroll in courses at Berlin University as guest students with the consent of their teachers. Nevertheless, in the year they joined the association, they were already publishing in ”Schmollers Jahrbuch” and in the ”Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik”, respectively.

The first woman to attend an Annual Meeting of the Verein für Socialpolitik in 1901 was also an activist for women’s rights, the chairwoman of a Munich association: Friederike Freudenberg. She was followed a few years later by, among others, Alice Salomon, also a representative of the women’s and social reform movement and the first national economist to earn a doctorate in Germany (incidentally on the subject of unequal pay for men’s and women’s work).

With regard to the publications of the Verein für Socialpolitik, women first became visible in 1899 as authors of a volume on ”Hausindustrie der Frauen in Berlin”. This was the first publication of the association to examine a topic specific to women. Several contributions by women, which also earned them doctorates, can also be found in a major investigation of the workforce in large-scale industry initiated by Alfred Weber, published from 1910 to 1912.

Despite the reconstruction of notable achievements by women, colleague Allgoewer states that women had little influence on the activities of the Verein für Socialpolitik in its early decades. This is particularly interesting in comparison to the American Economic Association (founding year: 1885), where women were not only represented from the beginning, but also had influence on the association’s activities as a ”small but present minority.”

More information awaits you at the poster exhibition in Regensburg in September.

We are looking forward to your visit!

Fostering Young Talents
Career Development Officer

This coming winter, as every year, the Junior Job Market will take place once again. The market has changed a lot in recent years. The central market at the ASSA meetings in the USA (next year 05.-07.01.2024 in San Antonio, Texas) has lost importance in favor of online interviews and a decentralized market. A separate European market had already been established. However, the EEA is trying to coordinate time slots for the online market.

This new format of the market also needs preparation, which not every university in the DACH region can provide on its own. Therefore, I am very pleased that Rüdiger Bachmann (University of Notre Dame) will again offer a seminar on job market preparation during the association’s Annual Meeting this year. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the Annual Meeting in person this year and therefore will not be able to attend the preparation seminar. However, we have already sent an email with all the relevant information to our reduced members.

Otherwise, the association is of course following the discussion about an amendment of the WissZeitVG. Our large survey last year showed that the fixed-term situation is perceived as a great burden by many young economists. At the same time, any reform of the fixed-term regulations represents a major challenge for the entire scientific organization in our discipline. Our survey has made it clear that a restructuring of departments towards a departmental structure with consistent tenure-track procedures is seen by many stakeholders as an opportunity to make the post-doctoral phase more attractive in the long term and to gain more clarity early on about career paths, be it within or outside the university.


VfS Baccalaureate Award in Economics

The VfS Baccalaureate Award in Economics is entering its sixth round. This year, we are again pleased to recognize students who have achieved excellent grades in the field of economics. The winners will receive a certificate, a congratulatory letter, a book prize and an insight into the association with a VfS trial membership. All winners of the Baccalaureate Award will also be invited to the ”Fascination of Economics” event at the Annual Conference in Regensburg.

A new record was set last year with 486 high school students receiving awards nationwide. This year, 105 applications have been received so far and the first awards have already been handed over. We would like to thank the teachers for their numerous nominations and the Joachim Herz Foundation for its many years of financial support.

Conference Subsidy Program

VfS Conference Subsidy Programme 2023

This year, applications for the Association’s Conference Subsidy Programme are again possible. This applies to both face-to-face and virtual conferences, which are supported by the programme.

The aim of the Verein für Socialpolitik is to promote the international presence of young economists with a subsidy of 600 Euros for presentations at prestigious international conferences. Prerequisite for participation is a reduced association membership. The subsidy programme is financed by donations provided by the Deutsche Bundesbank and the Swiss National Bank.

A list of conferences, application requirements and further information can be found here.

From the association

150th Founding Anniversary

This year, the Verein für Socialpolitik celebrates its 150th founding anniversary with a ceremony at the Annual Conference in Regensburg.

On Monday, Sept. 25, 2023, the ceremony begins with a welcoming address by the chairwoman Regina T. Riphahn (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg). The subsequent keynote speech will be given by Christian Lindner (Federal Minister of Finance in Germany) on the topic of ”Finanzpolitik in der Zeitenwende.”

Under the heading ”Science in Policy Advice: Mission and Responsibility” discuss Monika Schnitzer (LMU Munich, German Council of Economic Experts), Jörg Rocholl (ESMT Berlin), Jakob von Weizsäcker (Minister of Finance and Science of Saarland) and Martin Kocher (Federal Minister of Labor in Austria) the topic on a panel moderated by Karen Horn (journalist).

The programme will be framed by music. This will be followed by a reception hosted by the German Federal Reserve Bank.

On the occasion of the association’s anniversary, several articles have been published in the ”Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik”, which will be available in Free Access for about 4 weeks from mid-September.

Association Journals


Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik

This year, the Verein für Socialpolitik celebrates its 150th founding anniversary. The first issue 2023 of ”Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik” contains several articles under the heading ”Aus aktuellem Anlass” that are dedicated to the historical development of the association ­­– from its founding to the year 2010: The arc spanned here ranges first from the beginnings of the Verein für Socialpolitik to the end of the First World War, through its dissolution during the Nazi regime and its reestablishment, to the reforms implemented after German unification and the associated new beginning. In addition, the changing self-image of the association is outlined in the mirror of its annual meetings from 1950 to 2000.

These texts are undoubtedly a nice prelude to our 150th anniversary, which will be celebrated this year in Regensburg at our Annual Conference. You can read these articles in the print editions or in the online section of Perspectives on Economic Policy. This issue is also the last one for which our colleague Justus Haucap, the editor in charge for many years, is responsible. We would like to express our sincere thanks to him for his prudent and confident leadership, the excellent collegial cooperation within the editorial team, and the developmental impetus he has given ”Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik” as the preeminent German­­-language journal for economic policy discourse in the German­­-speaking area.

Now, starting with the second issue in 2023, I may take over this office, which I consider both a great honor and an enormous challenge. These are truly big shoes to fill. But I also know that I will find an outstanding team to carry this journal, from the association’s office to the team of editors ­­– in particular, to highlight just one anchor, our editor-in-chief Karen Horn ­­– and the editorial advisory board to the publisher. I will strive, along with this team, to justify in the years ahead the trust the association has placed in me with this position as lead editor.

My goal is to continue to develop the journal as the focal point of economic policy discourse in the German-speaking area. To this end, we want to increase its topicality even further, expand the spectrum of content and provide a professional foundation for economic policy debates with relevant contributions. It would be a dream come true if potential readers in ministries and associations, just like our colleagues in universities and institutes, would not only look forward to the next issue of ”Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik”, but actually take a look because they have the impression that they would otherwise miss out on relevant contributions on topics that are currently of intense interest to them.

We are taking a developmental step right at the beginning: With the addition of colleague Martin Quaas to the Editorial Board, we are expanding its professional coverage to include topics that could not be more current. Issues of sustainability, biodiversity, and climate change now dominate much of the social debate  and the professional discourse. The ”Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik“ want to be a central place for these debates to take place, without of course neglecting their traditional subject areas. Let’s successfully embark on this path together: I’m counting on your submissions, because it’s you who matter first and foremost.

The association’s journal Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik is published in German.

VfS Annual Conference
VfS Annual Conference

VfS Annual Conference 2023: Growth and the 'sociale Frage'

From September 24 to 27, 2023, our Annual Conference will take place at the Regensburg University with the core conference topic ”Growth and the sociale Frage”.

Founded in 1873 in the context of the intellectual debate about the ”social question”, the Verein für Socialpolitik has since developed into one of the largest professional associations of economists in the German-speaking countries. During the same period, the economies of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have experienced an unprecedented growth trajectory: despite crises, wars and institutional breaks, real incomes per capita have increased more than tenfold. In its three keynote talks, this year’s core conference — marking the 150th anniversary of the Verein — will look back on this remarkable intellectual and economic development.

The keynote by Albrecht Ritschl (London School of Economics) takes a tour through the Verein’s history as an academic social policy club, caught between contradictory policy goals and a conflicted relationship with emerging neoclassical economics. 
Charlotte Bartels (DIW) will address the issue of economic inequality that moved the association’s founders. Her talk investigates the long-run dynamics of income and wealth distributions, particularly the role of economic growth.
Finally, the keynote by Dietrich Vollrath (Houston University) allows a cautious look into the future: he discusses the origins of the recent slowdown in economic growth and what that might imply for future growth in Germany and the rest of the developed world.

The core conference panel will address the question of what the ”sociale Frage” means in the 21st century.

  • Core Conference Organization: Davide Cantoni (LMU Munich)
  • Open Meeting Organization: Sebastian Braun (Bayreuth University)
  • Local Organization: Jürgen Jerger (Regensburg University)

We look forward to welcoming you to the University of Regensburg.

Schmölders Award

Schmölders Foundation Award for Behavioral Research in Economics

This year, the award went to Arthur Seibold (Mannheim University) for his paper ”Reference Points for Retirement Behavior: Evidence from German Pension Discontinuities.”

The paper analyzes determinants of retirement decisions using administrative data from the Statutory Pension Insurance in Germany. The results show that workers retire at a significantly higher rate when reaching a statutory age limit than it would be expected based on the financial incentives associated with this age limit alone. This observation can be explained by the theory of reference point-dependent preferences, which provides starting points for policy control of the retirement age. With its combination of behavioral economic theory, institutional expertise, and evidence-based impact analysis, the paper is in the best tradition of Schmölders‘ approach to behavioral economics and social science and convincingly demonstrates its potential for research in finance. This year’s prize was awarded by the Finance Science Committee under the chairmanship of Robert Schwager. The €3,000 award is sponsored by the Schmölders Foundation for Behavioral Research in Economics.

The Schmölders Foundation Award will be awarded again next year. For more information click here.

Award for the Best Dissertation Education Economics

Award for the Best Dissertation in Economics of Education

The Economics of Education Committee has awarded Benjamin Arold (Basel University) for the best dissertation in the field of education economics 2021/2022. In his dissertation, Arold analyzes the effects of curricula on the further development of students. ”The dissertation shows in an impressive way what influence the curriculum has on the educational and life paths of students,” lauds Kerstin Schneider, chair of the Education Economics Committee. ”The results are important for education policy. Curricula are used to decide which competencies should be taught in schools. Competencies that can then also help us as a society to overcome upcoming challenges”.

The prize money of €2,000 comes from the Roland Berger Foundation for European Business Management. The prize, which has been awarded every two years since 2015, honors outstanding young researchers for their work in the field of economics of education.

Further information can be found here.

Dates and Press

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Museum Island

We would like to thank all members of the association who have been loyal to us for years or who have recently joined the association. Please feel free to contact the VfS office at any time with questions or suggestions and stay healthy.