skip to content

Universität zu Köln
Staatswissenschaftliches Seminar
Universitätsstraße 22a
Gebäude: 102
Raum: 4.212
D-50923 Köln

T    +49 221 470-4355
F    +49 221 470-5068
E    ockenfels(at)

Office Hours: on appointment (by email)

Axel Ockenfels is Professor of Economics at the University of Cologne, Director of the Cologne Laboratory of Economic Research, Speaker of the University of Cologne Excellence Center for Social and Economic Behavior, and Coordinator of the research unit "Design & Behavior" funded by the German Research Foundation. Ockenfels is considered one of the most influential economists in behavioral and design economics, both in fundamental research and in practical market design. He is a Member of the Berlin Brandenburgische, of the North Rhine-Westphalian and of the European Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Science and Engineering, the Academic Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the University of Cologne. In 2005 he was the first economist in 17 years to receive the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation.

Ockenfels' research is based on the fact that people respond to incentives. While they do not always do so in a rational or selfish way, economic and social behavior follows systematic and predictable patterns. This allows devising models of 'real' economic behavior (as alternatives to the widely used homo oeconomicus model). At the same time Ockenfels' work opens the door to market and strategy design as an engineering science. This line of research has many useful applications for design and behavior in the Internet, electricity&climate, telecommunication, finance and other sectors, as well as for the management of within and between firms interaction. It has benefitted from numerous collaborations with governments, market platforms, companies and research institutions mostly across Europe and the US.