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Prof. Dr. Axel Ockenfels

Universität zu Köln
Department of Economics
Universitätsstraße 22a
Gebäude: 102
Raum: 4.212
D-50923 Köln

T    +49 221 470-5761
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 and, starting in August 2023, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn. He is also Director of the Cologne Laboratory of Economic Research, and he coordinates the Excellence Center for Social and Economic Behavior and the Research Area “Market Design & Behavior” in the Excellence Cluster ECONtribute. He held visiting positions at Penn State, Harvard University, Stanford University, and UC San Diego.

Ockenfels' research focuses on “behavioral economic engineering”, which combines tools from game theory and behavioral research to design markets, algorithms and competitive strategies. This has many useful applications. Indeed, Ockenfels' research has benefitted from collaborations with governments, market platforms, companies and researchers mostly across Europe and the U.S. Examples include Ockenfels' early contributions to the design of eBay's auction platform and reputation mechanism, and the design of various markets and choice architectures in the Internet, electricity, climate, telecommunication, finance, transport and other sectors, as well as in firms. A particular interest is market design in the crisis. Examples include market and intervention design to secure vaccine supply, prevent electricity outages, reduce energy consumption in a crisis, and incentivize climate action.

Ockenfels is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts, and of the National Academy of Science and Engineering acatech. He is also member of the Economists' Roundtable and of the Climate Economists' Roundtable at the Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt), and of the Academic Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).

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, in 2018 he was awarded the ERC Advanced Grant of the European Research Council, in 2020 he received the Zukunftspreis of the University of Cologne, and in 2022 the Exeter Prize.