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Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Research Group
Behavioural Law and Economics
Professor Dr Dr hc Christoph Engel

Whatever the law achieves, it must do so by affecting the behavior of its subjects. This is why a behavioral perspective is fundamental to legal research. If the intervention targets behavior, the social problem that calls for intervention must be defined in behavioral terms as well. Why do individuals or organizations fail to coordinate? When and why do individuals create harm for others, unless guided or hindered by law? Or, in other words: Which is a behaviorally plausible definition of a collective-goods problem? How are those who create new legal rules, or those obliged to apply them, affected by behavioral effects? A behaviorally sound construction of the social problem is essential for the proper design of legal institutions. This design is often particularly challenging, since different groups of people behave in systematically different ways. Research undertaken by the group combines doctrine, comparative law, and legal and economic theory with empirics. Much empirical work is experimental, but the group is also increasingly using datasets generated by the judiciary and administration.

Research Areas

Behavoural Law and Economics

Joining the Institute

There is the possibility to apply for resesarch fellowships at the Insitute. There is also the possibility to apply for doctoral fellowships in economics and Law with the International Max Planck Research School on Behaviorally Smart Institutions (IMPRS BeSmart) and the Cologne Graduate School of Economics (CGS-E).

Further information, please visit the Institute’s website: https://www.coll.mpg.de


Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
53113 Bonn


To enquire about applying as a reserach fellow:

Anja Schäfer
Personal Assistant

Phone: +49 228 91416-210
Fax: +49 228 91416-311
Email: schaefer@...