Panel at VfS annual conference: „Women, Men and Taxes“: On the discrimination of women by the tax and transfer system

The Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy and the Institute for Economic Policy at the University of Cologne (iwp) cordially invite you to the panel: “Women, Men and Taxes“: On the discrimination of women by the tax and transfer system at this year’s VfS virtual annual conference.

The German tax system is superficially “gender-neutral”. Direct or immediate discrimination based on gender would have long since been examined and rejected by the Federal Constitutional Court.

From a gender perspective, however, there are factorswhich place women and men in certain social positions. In Germany, for example, the issue of spousal splitting has been discussed for decades.The tax system distinguishes between married couples and singlesand has deduction possibilities for tax-payers with children. Are those deductionsgender-neutral?Also, thepension system has rules for crediting time on parental leave or care of the elderly. What is the effect?

The discussion will not only focus on whether and which discriminatory regulations in the tax and transfer system can be identified from an economic point of view, but also on whether reforms in these areas are more likely to encounter practical implementation problems or actual political conflicts.

The panel discussion centers around the following questions:

  • How does the tax and transfer system interfere with the lives ofmen and women? E.g. is the labor market participation of women more discouraged than the labor participation of men?
  • To what extent is there undesirable discrimination?
  • What are avenues for reform?
  • Why is there persistent discrimination? Why are reforms politically difficult?

Panel discussion:

  • Prof. Miriam Beblo (University of Hamburg, Expert Commission of the German Federal Government’s 9th Family Report, Independent Expert Commission for the Third Gender Equality Report of the German Government)
  • Prof. Andreas Peichl (ifo Center for Macroeconomics and Survey, University of Munich)
  • Dr. Wolfgang Strengmann-Kuhn (Habilitated economist, member of the German Bundestag and spokesperson for labor market policy of the parliamentary group of Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen)


Prof. Michael Krause (Institute for Economic Policy at the University of Cologne [iwp], Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy)

The panel takes place as part of the annual conference of the Verein für Socialpolitik.

Date & time: 29th of September, 16:45 – 18:15 o’clock.

More infomation & registration


Financial industry often employs untrustworthy employees

Scientists identify one possible reason for the many scandals in the world of finance: Employees in this industry are often less trustworthy and less socially aware.

Whether Cum-Ex businesses or Wirecard – at regular intervals a scandal shakes the financial industry. The already shaken image sinks after each new revelation and customers, politics and society increasingly lose confidence. Matthias Heinz and Matthias Sutter, both economists of the ECONtribute Cluster of Excellence: Markets & Public Policy of the Universities of Cologne and Bonn, together with Heiner Schumacher (KU Leuven) and Andrej Gill (University of Mainz) have found a possible reason for the scandals in the financial sector: In an experimental study, they measured the trustworthiness of students and found that the least trustworthy ones work increasingly in the financial industry later on.

To this end, the researchers conducted a long-term study with students of economics at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. In a first wave in 2013, they asked 265 students about their career aspirations, social preferences and personality traits. In addition, they tested how trustworthy the students are in a computer-supported laboratory experiment, a so-called trust game. The students received eight Euros and were able to give a second person an amount between 0 and 8 Euros. The amount was then tripled by the researchers and the second person could then decide how much to give back to the first person.  People who returned a higher amount were considered more trustworthy than others, resulting in students who planned their careers in the financial world being 30 percent less trustworthy than those who planned their careers in another industry after graduation. In 2019 and 2020, the research team repeated the survey and found that the less trustworthy people had actually taken a job in the financial world.

Trust is particularly important in the financial world – and is the basis for a business relationship between customers and consultants. If consultants exploit the trust placed in them by being better able to assess the complex information available to them in the financial world than their clients, this can lead to misconduct on the part of financial employees. This in turn can become a source of scandals and fraud. The financial world could counteract this by weeding out the less trustworthy employees when they are hired – but research suggests otherwise:

“Students who want to work in the highly competitive financial world are less trustworthy than those who want to work in other industries. However, the financial world does not seem to weed out less trustworthy people during a hiring process, but actually hire them. In addition, only four percent of employees move from finance to another industry, which makes the selection of employees particularly important,” explains Matthias Heinz, Professor at ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy and at the University of Cologne the results. Further research is needed to understand hiring processes in the financial world and derive implications for policy, the team of researchers summarizes.

The study has been published as an ECONtribute Discussion Paper:


About ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy

The study is part of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy Cluster of Excellence. It is the only economic cluster of excellence funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) – supported by the universities of Bonn and Cologne, the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Public Goods and the Institute on Behavior & Inequality (briq). The cluster conducts research on markets at the interface between business, politics and society. The goal of ECONtribute is to better understand markets and to find a fundamentally new approach to the analysis of market failures that meets today’s social, technological and economic challenges, such as increasing inequality and political polarization or global financial crises.


Media Contact:

Professor Dr. Matthias Sutter

Chair of Economics: Design & Behavior at the University of Cologne

Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Public Goods Bonn

Professor Dr. Matthias Heinz
Professorship for Strategy at the University of Cologne


Press and Communication:

Katrin Tholen

+49 221 470 3555

Finanzbranche beschäftigt häufig vertrauensunwürdige Mitarbeiter

Wissenschaftler machen einen möglichen Grund für die vielen Skandale in der Finanzwelt aus: Arbeitnehmer in dieser Branche sind häufig weniger vertrauenswürdig und weniger sozial eingestellt.

Ob Cum-Ex-Geschäfte oder Wirecard – in regelmäßigen Abständen erschüttert ein Skandal die Finanzindustrie. Das ohnehin bereits gebeutelte Image sinkt nach jeder neuen Enthüllung und Kunden, Politik und Gesellschaft verlieren zunehmend Vertrauen. Matthias Heinz und Matthias Sutter, beides Ökonomen des Exzellenzclusters ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy der Universitäten Köln und Bonn, haben gemeinsam mit Heiner Schumacher (KU Leuven) und Andrej Gill (Universität Mainz) einen möglichen Grund für die Skandale der Finanzbranche gefunden: Sie haben in einer experimentellen Studie die Vertrauenswürdigkeit von Studierenden gemessen und festgestellt, dass die am wenigsten vertrauenswürdigen später verstärkt in der Finanzindustrie arbeiten.

Dazu führten die Wissenschaftler eine Langzeitstudie mit Studierenden der Wirtschaftswissenschaften an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt durch. In einer ersten Welle im Jahre 2013 befragten sie 265 Studentinnen und Studenten nach ihren Berufswünschen, sozialen Präferenzen und Persönlichkeitsmerkmalen. Zusätzlichen testeten sie in einem computergestützten Laborexperiment, einem so genannten Trust Game, wie vertrauenswürdig die Studierenden sind. Die Studierenden erhielten acht Euro und konnten einer zweiten Person einen Betrag zwischen 0 und 8 Euro geben. Der Betrag wurde von den Forschern anschließend verdreifacht und die zweite Person konnte dann entscheiden, wieviel sie hiervon der ersten Person zurückgeben wollte.  Personen, die einen höheren Betrag zurückgaben galten vertrauenswürdiger als andere.Das Ergebnis: Studierende, die ihre Karriere in der Finanzwelt planten, waren um 30 Prozent weniger vertrauenswürdig, als solche, die nach ihrem Studium ihren Berufseinstieg in einer anderen Branche sahen. 2019 und 2020 wiederholte das Forschungsteam die Befragung und stellte fest, dass die weniger vertrauenswürdigen Personen auch tatsächlich in der Finanzwelt einen Job angenommen hatten.

Finanzunternehmen wissen um die Rolle der Vertrauenswürdigkeit

Vertrauen hat in der Finanzwelt einen besonders hohen Stellenwert – und ist Grundlage für eine Geschäftsbeziehung zwischen Kunden und Beratern. Nutzen Berater das ihnen entgegengebrachte Vertrauen aus, indem sie die ihnen vorhandenen komplexen Informationen der Finanzwelt besser einzuschätzen wissen als ihre Kunden, kann es zu einem Fehlverhalten der Mitarbeiter im Finanzwesen kommen. Das wiederum kann zur Quelle für Skandale und Betrug werden. Dem könnte die Finanzwelt entgegenwirken, in dem sie die weniger vertrauenswürdigen Mitarbeiter bei der Einstellung aussortiert – die Forschungsergebnisse lassen jedoch einen anderen Schluss zu:

„Studierende, die in der wettbewerbsintensiven Finanzwelt arbeiten möchten, sind weniger vertrauenswürdig als jene, die in anderen Branchen arbeiten wollen. Die Finanzwelt scheint aber weniger vertrauenswürdige Personen im Laufe eines Einstellungsprozesses nicht auszusortieren, sondern tatsächlich einzustellen. Zudem wechseln nur vier Prozent der Arbeitnehmer aus den Finanzen in eine andere Branche, was die Auswahl der Mitarbeiterinnen besonders wichtig macht.“, erläutert Matthias Heinz, Professor bei ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy und an der Universität zu Köln die Ergebnisse. Es sei weitere Forschung notwendig, um Einstellungsprozesse in der Finanzwelt zu verstehen und Implikationen für die Politik abzuleiten, fasst das Wissenschaftler-Team zusammen.

Die Studie ist als ECONtribute-Discussion Paper erschienen:

You can find the English version of the press release here.

Über ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy

Die Studie ist im Rahmen des Exzellenzclusters ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy entstanden. Es handelt sich dabei um den einzigen wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen, von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) geförderten Exzellenzcluster – getragen von den Universitäten in Bonn und Köln sowie dem Max-Planck-Institut zur Erforschung von Gemeinschaftsgütern und dem Institute on Behavior & Inequality (briq). Der Cluster forscht zu Märkten im Spannungsfeld zwischen Wirtschaft, Politik und Gesellschaft. Ziel von ECONtribute ist es, Märkte besser zu verstehen und eine grundlegend neue Herangehensweise für die Analyse von Marktversagen zu finden, die den sozialen, technologischen und wirtschaftlichen Herausforderungen der heutigen Zeit, wie zunehmender Ungleichheit und politischer Polarisierung oder globalen Finanzkrisen, gerecht wird.


Inhaltlicher Kontakt:

Professor Dr. Matthias Sutter

Lehrstuhl für Economics: Design & Behavior an der Universität zu Köln

Direktor des Max-Planck-Instituts zur Erforschung von Gemeinschaftsgütern Bonn

Professor Dr. Matthias Heinz
Proffesur für Strategie an der Universiät zu Köln


Presse und Kommunikation:

Katrin Tholen

+49 221 470 3555

Three Starting Grants in economics: Economists receive coveted European Research Council funding

Starting Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) are highly coveted, because they provide young researchers with funding of up to 1.5 million euros over five years. In economics, three researchers from the University of Bonn and the Behavior and Inequality Research Institute (briq) will now benefit from this funding. The successful candidates are also members of the Clusters of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy and the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM).

Prof. Dr. Francesc Dilmé works at the Institute for Microeconomics at the University of Bonn and is a member of the Clusters of Excellence ECONtribute, Hausdorff Center for Mathematics and a cross-locational Collaborative Research Center with Mannheim. He wants to use the ERC Starting Grant to investigate price negotiations in dynamic markets: “The aim is to develop a new systematic analysis of markets where market participants have different levels of information.”

Dilmé expects the EU funding to enable him to attract leading researchers from his field to Bonn and to have more time for his research. “The Starting Grant allows me to contribute to the understanding of how information is transmitted through prices in decentralized markets, such as real estate and financial markets,” he says. He also wants to examine the efficiency of these markets and assess the effectiveness of different regulations.

Dilmé studied physics and mathematics in Barcelona (Spain) before graduating in economics at the London School of Economics (England) and completing a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania (USA). He joined the University of Bonn in 2013 and has been a professor there since 2019. In 2017 he spent a six-month research stay at the University of California, Berkeley.

New possibilities for data analysis

Prof. Dr. Joachim Freyberger from the Institute of Finance and Statistics at the University of Bonn is a member of the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics and plans to use his Starting Grant to develop new statistical methods. “The increasing availability of large data sets and, at the same time, the greatly increased processing power of computers offer new possibilities for analyzing data,” says Freyberger. Various applications of the new methods should result in more reliable conclusions.

He would like to use the EU funding to strengthen his networking with international researchers and to train doctoral students.

Born in Bonn, he studied econometrics and operations research in Maastricht (Netherlands) and received his doctorate in economics from Northwestern University (USA). After six years at the University of Wisconsin (USA), Freyberger has been a professor at the University of Bonn since 2019.

How do our memories influence opinions and expectations?

Economics assumes that people act with foresight. Decisions depend on individual perceptions and expectations, for example when buying shares. “The aim of the project is to better understand the process through which opinions and expectations are formed,” says Prof. Dr. Florian Zimmermann. “The approach here is to use insights from memory research.”

The researcher works at the Behavior and Inequality Research Institute (briq) at the University of Bonn and is a member of ECONtribute. The project, which is supported by the ERC with a Starting Grant, is based on the assumption that when forming opinions and expectations, the mind is often intuitively asked about prior knowledge and experience on a certain topic. “Belief-based decisions are not only relevant for individual economic outcomes but may also have important effects on the economy as a whole,” says the researcher.

Zimmermann studied economics in Mannheim and at the University of California, Los Angeles (USA) and earned his doctorate at the Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE) at the University of Bonn. After research stays at the University of California, San Diego, and Harvard University as well as a postdoctoral period at the University of Zurich, he joined briq in 2017, where he has been a professor since 2019.

ERC Starting Grants support excellent young researchers

The European Research Council awards Starting Grants to outstanding young researchers. The funding from Brussels is up to 1.5 million euros for five years.

Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute and Hausdorff Center for Mathematics

ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy is the only economic Cluster of Excellence and a joint initiative of the universities of Bonn and Cologne. The Cluster’s research focuses on markets at the interface between business, politics and society. The Cluster aims to advance a new paradigm for the analysis of market failure in light of fundamental societal, technological and economic challenges, such as increasing inequality and political polarization or global financial crises.

The Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) is a Cluster of Excellence of the University of Bonn. With six units, its research spectrum ranges from pure and applied mathematics to mathematically oriented questions of economics and interdisciplinary research. A central goal of the HCM is the promotion of young researchers in an independent and international environment.

Download the German version of the press release.

Media contact:

Katrin Tholen

PR Manager

ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy

Tel. +49-(0)228-737808



Prof. Dr. Francesc Dilmé

Institut für Mikroökonomik der Universität Bonn

Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute und Hausdorff-Zentrum für Mathematik

Tel. +49-(0)228-737957



Prof. Dr. Joachim Freyberger

Institut für Finanzmarktökonomie und Statistik der Universität Bonn

Exzellenzcluster Hausdorff-Zentrum für Mathematik

Tel. +49-(0)228-739268



Prof. Dr. Florian Zimmermann

Behavior and Inequality Research Institute (briq)

Exzellenzcluster ECONtribute

Tel. +49-(0)228-3894704