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The Cologne Laboratory for Economic Research was opened at the end of April 2005, establishing the young and much promising discipline experimental economics at the economics department at the University of Cologne. This discipline deals with the empirically founded advancement of economic theories as well as the applied analysis of economic and social institutions.

The laboratory network consists of 32 computers and belongs to the most modern and largest laboratatories of its kind in Germany. There, economic decision making in controlled situations can be observed clearly. Important conclusions of the nature of economic behavior can be drawn as well as an analysis of the efficiency of economic markets and other institutions. In addition the experimental economic research is used as a didactical instrument in the framework of classes and talks.

The director of the laboratory is Professor Dr. Axel Ockenfels. His research working group in Cologne focuses on architecture of high-complex electronic markets. These markets are examined in detail by using innovative experimental techniques. Which 'rules' in internet auctions lead to efficient trade? Can 'intelligent' markets replace administrative procedures in infrastructure industries (energy, transport, traffic)? To what extent can economic decisions be affected and steered by institutional basic conditions?

At the same time fundamental postulates of economic behavioral theory are provoked and redeveloped. Which motives drive economic behavior? In which way does the decision maker's rationality differ from the popular homo oeconomicus? The experimental results are of great importance for our understanding of economic and social acting in nearly all areas of life.

The laboratory is able to build bridges between modern economic theory and practice as well as between the disciplines at the faculties of economics and sociology. Therefore it will contribute to the profile of the faculty and the University of Cologne