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Prof. Dr. Axel Ockenfels

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

T    +49 221 470-5761
F    +49 221 470-5068
E    ockenfels(at)

Excellence Center for Social and Economic Behavior (C-SEB)
Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets and Public Policy
European Research Council Advanced Grant "EEC"

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, and Speaker of the University of Cologne Excellence Center for Social and Economic Behavior. He is a member of the National Academy of Science and Engineering, and of the Berlin Brandenburgische, the North Rhine-Westphalian and the European Academies of Sciences. Ockenfels serves as a Department Editor for Management Science, in the Academic Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and in 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 Science Foundation. In 2006 he received the Gossen Prize of the German Economic Association, and in 2018 he was awarded the ERC Advanced Grant of the European Research Council. Since 2019 he is coordinator of the Research Area "Market Design & Behavior" in the EconTribute Cluster of Excellence.

Ockenfels' research focuses on market design and behavioral research. Recent advances in computer and communication technology make new kinds of economic interaction and transactions feasible, and thus allow radical innovation in how markets are designed. One goal of his research is to develop and test innovative market mechanisms that are based on modern computer and information technologies—and that address important economic and societal challenges. A particular focus is on using tools from game theory, behavioral economics and neighboring disciplines to devise better models of human behavior (as alternatives to the widely used homo oeconomicus model), and to design markets that take into account the complexities of human behavior. This approach might be called “behavioral economic engineering”, and it has many useful applications. Examples include the design of markets and decision architectures in the Internet, electricity and climate, telecommunication, finance and other sectors, as well as in firms. Ockenfels' research has benefitted from numerous collaborations with governments, market platforms, companies and research institutions across Europe and the US.