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Axel Ockenfels

Axel Ockenfels - Department of Economics

Research focuses

Market Design, Behavioral Economics, Electronic Markets, Digital Economy, Energy Economics, Climate Economics  

Curriculum vitae

  • 2018-2022 ERC Advanced Grant (highest European research grant)
  • Since 2018 Speaker of the Research Area “Market Design & Behavior” in the Excellence Cluster EconTribute
  • Since 2017 Member of the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech)
  • Since 2016 Member of the European Academy of Sciences
  • 2016 Albertus Magnus Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Since 2015 Speaker of the University of Cologne Excellence Center for Social and Economic Behavior (C-SEB)
  • Since 2015 Principal Investigator in the DFG-project " Social Comparison and Self-Control" in FOR 2150
  • Feb-Jul 2015 Visiting Professor at Stanford University, Economics Department
  • 2015 Ranked 31 in the Global Thought Leader Index 2015 for Germany, Austria and Switzerland (
  • 2015 Ranked among the “24 Ökonomen, auf die es ankommt” by the Süddeutsche Zeitung
  • 2013-2015 Ranked among the 20 “most influential economists in Germany” by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
  • Since 2012 Contributing Author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • 2011-2012 Speaker of the Department of Economics at the University of Cologne
  • Since 2011 Coordinator of the DGF-Research Unit FOR 1371 “Design & Behavior”
  • Since 2010 Member of the Acad. Adv. Board of the Fed. Min. of Econ. & Techn.
  • Since 2010 Speaker of the UoC‘s key profile area „Behavioral Economic Engineering and Social Cognition“
  • Since 2007 Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the University of Cologne
  • Since 2006 Member of the Nordrhein-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • 2006 Gossen-Prize, Verein für Socialpolitik
  • Since 2005 Member of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • 2005 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Since 2004 Director of the Cologne Laboratory for Economic Research,
  • Since 2003 Full Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Cologne
  • 2003 - 2007 Director of the Institute of Energy Economics
  • 2004 - 2006       President of the Gesellschaft für Experimentelle Wirtschaftsforschung
  • 2002 - 2003 Associate Professor at the Max Planck Institute for Economics, Jena
  • 2002 Habilitation, Venia legendi in Economics, University of Magdeburg
  • 2001 - 2007 Emmy Noether-Fellow of the DFG
  • 2000 - 2001 Assistant Professor, Magdeburg
  • 1999 - 2000 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard University, USA
  • 1998 Ph.D. (Dr. rer.pol.), University of Magdeburg
  • 1996 - 1997 Visiting Scholar,Penn State University, USA
  • 1994 Diplom Volkswirt, University of Bonn

Selected publications

  • Inderst, Roman, Kiryl Khalmetski, and Axel Ockenfels. Forthcoming. “Sharing Guilt:
    How Better Access to Information May Backfire.” Management Science
  • Bolton, Gary E., Ben Greiner, and Axel Ockenfels. Forthcoming. “Dispute Resolution or Escalation? The Strategic Gaming of Feedback Withdrawal Options in Online Markets.” Management Science, online available at:
  • Cramton, Peter, R. Richard Geddes and Axel Ockenfels. 2018. “Set road charges in real time to ease traffic.” Nature, Vol. 560, 23-25, doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-05836-0.
  • Cramton, Peter, and Axel Ockenfels. 2017. "The German 4G German Auction: Design and Behavior." The Economic Journal, 127 (October), F305–F324, Doi: 10.1111/ecoj.12406.
  • Cramton, Peter, Axel Ockenfels and Steven Stoft. 2017. “Global Carbon Pricing.” In: “Global Carbon Pricing: The Path to Climate Cooperation“ (eds. Cramton, MacKay, Ockenfels and Stoft), MIT Press, 31-90.  
  • Berger, Sebastian, Hanns Hatt, and Axel Ockenfels. 2017. “Exposure to Hedione Increases Reciprocity in Humans.” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 11:79, doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00079.
  • Ambuehl, Sandro, and Axel Ockenfels. 2017. “The Ethics of Incentivizing the Uninformed. A Vignette Study.“ American Economic Review – Papers & Proceedings, 107(5), 91–95.
  • Cramton, Peter, Axel Ockenfels and Jean Tirole. 2017. “Policy Brief–Translating the Collective Climate Goal into a Common Commitment.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 11(1), 165–171. 
  • Bierbrauer, Felix, Axel Ockenfels, Andreas Pollak and Désirée Rückert. 2017. “Robust Mechanism Design and Social Preferences.” Journal of Public Economics, 149, 59-80.
  • MacKay, David J C, Peter Cramton, Axel Ockenfels and Steve Stoft (2015). “Price Carbon – I will if You Will.” Nature, 526, 315–316, doi:10.1038/526315a.
  •  Ockenfels, Axel, Dirk Sliwka, and Peter Werner (2015). “Bonus Payments and Reference Point Violations.” Management Science 61(7), 1496-1513.
  • Khalmetski, Kiryl, Axel Ockenfels, and Peter Werner (2015). "Surprising Gifts – Theory and Laboratory Evidence." Journal of Economic Theory 159, 163–208.
  • Ockenfels, Axel, and Reinhard Selten (2014). "Impulse Balance in the Newsvendor Game." Games and Economic Behavior, 86, 237–247.
  • Mussweiler, T., and A. Ockenfels (2013). Similarity increases altruistic punishment in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 19318–19323.
  • Bolton, G. E., B. Greiner, and A. Ockenfels (2013). Engineering trust—reciprocity in the production of reputation information. Management Science, 59, 265–285.
  • Nash, J. F., R. Nagel, A. Ockenfels, and R. Selten (2012). The method of agencies coalition formation in experimental games. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109, 20358–20363.
  • Bolton, Gary E., and Axel Ockenfels (2010). Betrayal aversion: Evidence from Brazil, China, Oman, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States: Comment. American Economic Review, 100: 628-633.
  • Bolton, Gary E., Elena Katok, and Axel Ockenfels (2004). How Effective are Electronic Reputation Mechanisms? An Experimental Investigation. Management Science, 50(11): 1587-1602.
  • Roth, A. E., and A. Ockenfels (2002). Last-minute bidding and the rules for ending second-price auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon auctions on the internet. American Economic Review, 92, 1093–1103.
  • Bolton, G. E., and A. Ockenfels (2000). ERC—A theory of equity, reciprocity and competition. American Economic Review, 90, 166–193.

Selected media publications

  • Handelsblatt May 24, 2019: Wirtschaftswachstum: Japans Scheinblüte (Link)
  • Ärtzeblatt January 30, 2019: Ausweitung der Lebendspende umstritten (Link)
  • Thomson Reuters Foundation News August 30, 2018: The path to climate cooperation (Link)