News and Media

Workshop in Honor of Josef Falkinger

Current and former colleagues, students, and friends of Josef Falkinger gathered on August 28 - 29, 2015, in order to discuss their latest research findings and to honor Professor Falkinger’s contribution to the scientific community. The Workshop took place in the Hotel Hirschen in Wildhaus, which lies in the Toggenburg, a region high in the valley between Säntis and the Churfirsten mountain range of Switzerland.

David Dorn comments on rising employment in the public sector

2015-07-27: Between 2005 and 2014 the number of municipal employees has increased by 20 percent - the population has grown by only 10 percent. This provokes criticism.

Nature Communications Publication: Indecisiveness caused by brain waves

2015-08-21: Which meal would you like today, chicken or pasta? For such value-based choices, organisms must flexibly integrate various types of sensory information about internal states and the environment to transform them into actions. A new study by Christian Ruff alongside Rafael Polania, Marius Moisa, Alexander Opitz, and Marcus Grueschow shows that preference-based decisions were less stable if the information flow between the two brain regions was disrupted. The test subjects were therefore more indecisive.

Press release UZH in English
Press release UZH in German
Nature Communications Article

Media Coverage
Science Daily
Medical Xpress
Medizin Aspekte (in German)
Schweiz Magazin (in German)

Neuron Publication: How Stress Can Tweak the Brain to Sabotage Self-Control

2015-08-05: Stressful events occur frequently in daily life and can affect the way we make routine decisions. For example, what we decide to have for lunch may be impacted by a challenging morning meeting or an interaction with an upset client at work. A new study by Todd Hare and Silvia Maier found that when individuals chose between different food options after having experienced the stressful ice bath treatment, they overweighed food taste attributes and were more likely to choose an unhealthy food compared with people who were not stressed. 

Press release UZH in German

Neuron Article

Media Coverage
Huffington Post
LA Times
abc News Radio
SRF 4 News (in German)
Limmattaler Zeitung (in German)
Die (in German)

How to measure the Value of Decision Rights

2015-07-30: Decision rights carry not only instrumental value but may also be valuable for their own sake. The ideas of autonomy, freedom, and liberty derive their intuitive appeal—at least partly—from an assumed positive intrinsic value of decision rights. Providing clean evidence for the existence of this intrinsic value and measuring its size, however, is intricate. Björn Bartling, Ernst Fehr, and Holger Herz developed a method capable of achieving these goals. The data reveal that the large majority of the subjects intrinsically value decision rights beyond their instrumental benefit.

NZZ article (in German)
Working Paper

Joachim Voth on the “debt miracle”

2015-07-27: Jaume Ventura (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) and Joachim Voth (Zurich University) say that when the dangers of debt in today’s world are considered, the potential benefits should not be forgotten. Looking at the conditions under which the Industrial Revolution in Britain took place, the researchers ask why the country that borrowed the most industrialised first.

Article on

Joachim Voth explains why there is a good side to sovereign debt

2015-07-08: Sovereign debt is presumed to be problematic. According to Joachim Voth, there are at least three positive aspects to public sector loans.

Article in Finanz und Wirtschaft (German)

Conference on “The Economics of Sovereign Debt”

2015-07-01:  The UBS Center of Economics in Society organized a high-profile international conference on “The Economics of Sovereign Debt”. The scientific organizing committee comprised Raquel Fernandez and Kjetil Storesletten, who are member of the advisory board of the UBS Center, and Fabrizio Zilibotti.
The conference took place on June 23-24, 2015, at the University of Zurich.

Conference webpage

Picture gallery

Nazi indoctrination and anti-Semitic beliefs in Germany (Joachim Voth)

2015-06-10:  In their recently published paper, Hans-Joachim Voth and Nico Voigtländer use survey data on anti-Semitic beliefs and attitudes in a representative sample of Germans to show that Nazi indoctrination was highly effective. Between 1933 and 1945, young Germans were exposed to anti-Semitic ideology in schools, in the (extracurricular) Hitler Youth, and through radio, print, and film. As a result, Germans who grew up under the Nazi regime are much more anti-Semitic than those born before or after that period.

Voigtländer, Nico, Voth, Hans-Joachim. Nazi indoctrination and anti-semitic beliefs in Germany. PNAS, Juni 2015. Doi: 10.1073/pnas.14148222112 article

UZH Medienmitteilung

Artikel auf


Fabrizio Zilibotti challenges the popular view on Greece

2015-06-10: Andreas Müller, Kjetil Storesletten, and Fabrizio Zilibotti say the best response to the Greek debt crisis is pragmatism and sequential compromise. The economists plead for an assistance programme providing the country with debt relief.

Oekonomenstimme (in German)

Two-Tier Wage Setup Isn’t More Profitable for Companies (Roberto A. Weber)

2015-06-09: Think that hiring lower-wage workers to replace more expensive employees will increase profits? Think again. Lower wages don’t improve profits because neither the new lower-wage earners nor the existing higher-wage employees worked as hard. And the new workers’ reduced income also reduced their social welfare.
Accountingweb (online)

Ökonomische Forschung für eine bessere Welt? (Ernst Fehr)

2015-06-08: NZZ-Chefredaktor Eric Gujer und NZZ-Journalist Marco Färber unterhalten sich mit Ernst Fehr über das Thema "Ökonomische Forschung für eine bessere Welt?".
NZZ Standpunkte (online)

We-Dentity: Neue GDI Studie

2015-06-05: In Zusammenarbeit mit Professor Michel Maréchal vom Department of Economics der Universität Zürich und der Excellence Foundation Zurich wurde eine qualitative Befragung im deutschsprachigen Raum in Bezug auf die soziale Identität durchgeführt. Die Ergebnisse der GDI-Studie zeigen, dass unser Verhalten je nach Rolle variiert. Unsere sozialen Identitäten – Mutter, Cellist, Veganerin oder Bankangestellter – beeinflussen unser Verhalten stärker als angenommen. Das zeigt die Verhaltensökonomie.
Link zur GDI-Studie

The Price of Competition (Roberto A. Weber)

2015-06-05: Does the way that markets operate have a corrupting influence on people’s behavior? Outside of a market context, how much do consumers care about making socially responsible choices? Roberto A. Weber says there’s a lot of evidence that market competition largely crowds out concern for other people’s well-being.

The full text of this article is only available to subscribers.
Standford Social Innovation Revue (online)

Joachim Voth: "Threat of 'full-blown' European crisis looms large"

2015-05-07: In his opening address at the Citywire Montreux 2015, Joachim Voth said the ECB’s stimulus measures are not doing enough to dispel the fear of a ‘full-blown’ European crisis. According to Voth, political support for measures are on an increasingly fragile footing which could lead to an economic collapse in the next 12-to-24 months.
Read news on Cytywire webpage

Young academic prize for Simon Alder

2015-05-07: Simon Alder (PhD, University of Zurich, 2014) has been awarded the "1. Nachwuchspreis für praxisrelevante Entwicklungsforschung" of the Verein für Socialpolitik. The prestigious prize has been awarded in recognition of his dissertation "Essays in Economic Policy and Development". The award ceremony will be held at the Annual meeting of the Economic Development Committee of the Vereins für Socialpolitik, at Kiel, 12.-13. Juni, 2015.
Read more

Zombie facts that pose as real science (Roberto A. Weber)

2015-04-25: The power pose, proven by science to improve confidence before a big speech, was then refuted by further science to have that effect. The original finding will probably live on, because some theories are harder than zombies to kill.
he National UAE (online)

Joachim Voth designated editor of The Economic Journal

2015-04-10: Starting in June 2015, Joachim Voth will be a Joint Managing Editor at The Economic Journal. The journal belongs to the Royal Economic Society, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious economic associations in the world.
The Economic Journal

Power posing does not affect hormones or financial risk taking (Eva Ranehill)

David Dorn: Why Obama’s key trade deal with Asia would actually be good for American workers

2015-03-12: David Dorn (together with David Autor and Gordon H. Hanson) explain why blocking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on fears of globalization would be a mistake.
The Washington Post

Fabrizio Zilibotti designated co-editor of Econometrica

2015-01-20: Fabrizio Zilibotti has accepted the offer to become co-editor of Econometrica, one of the top-5 economics journals. Zilibotti will be in office as of July 2015.

Fabrizio Zilibotti is President Elect of the European Economic Association (EEA) and will be President in 2016. He is the former chief editor (2009-14) of the Journal of the European Economic Association, a former director and managing editor (2002-06) of the Review of Economic Studies, and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Economic Growth and of China Economic Review.
Econ Announcement

Mit warmem Herzen und kühlem Kopf (Ernst Fehr)

2015-02-19: Er gilt als der Totengräber des „Homo oeconomicus“. Der Hirnforscher interessiert sich für das, was viele Ökonomen weglassen. Dazu schaut er in unsere Köpfe. Dort findet Fehr Ängste – und einen Sinn für Fairness.
Artikel in der Handelszeitung (PDF, 470 KB)

Pragmatismus aus Prinzip (Fabrizio Zilibotti)

2015-02-13: Wer glaubt, dass sich das Problem Griechenland nur mit Härte lösen lasse, riskiert, dass im Namen falsch verstandener ökonomischer Prinzipien grosser Schaden entsteht. Ein Kommentar von Fabrizio Zilibotti.

Artikel der Finanz und Wirtschaft

Rainer Winkelmann appointed new Chairman of the Department

2015-02-01: The University of Zurich has appointed Prof. Rainer-Winkelmann as new Chairman of the Department of Economics as of February 2015.
Econ Announcement (PDF, 100 KB)

NZZ Article (PDF, 6697 KB)

Er macht Geschichte aktuell (Joachim Voth)

2015-01-26: Hans-Joachim Voth hat Wirtschaftsgeschichte in Mode gebracht - mit Studien über Hitler und Staatsbankrotte.
Artikel in der Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (PDF, 872 KB)

Zauberformel gesucht (Joachim Voth)

2015-01-21: Der Schweizer Franken gilt als Segen für die Volkswirtschaft. Doch in den letzten Jahren ist er zum Fluch geworden. Braucht die Schweiz ihre Währung überhaupt noch?
Artikel im Tagesanzeiger

Warum Grosszügigkeit von der sozialen Distanz abhängt (Philippe Tobler)

2015-01-20: Wenn man einen Menschen schätzt, zeigt man sich ihm gegenüber meist grosszügiger und ist eher bereit zu teilen, als gegenüber Unbekannten. Zürcher Neuroökonomen haben gemeinsam mit deutschen Wissenschaftlern die Gehirnbereiche entschlüsselt, die zu diesem Verhalten führen. Die Ergebnisse könnten dazu beitragen, ökonomische Theorien zu ergänzen und die Ursachen von sozialen Verhaltensstörungen besser zu verstehen.
Artikel auf

Die schweizerische Geldpolitik im Dilemma (Mathias Hoffmann)

2015-01-19: Wer Blasen zum Platzen bringt, ist nicht populär. Es darf aber nicht unterschätzt werden, wie dringend die SNB den geringen zusätzlichen Spielraum braucht, den sie mit der Aufgabe der Euro-Bindung wieder gewinnt.

Artikel in der NZZ (PDF, 187 KB)

Klein kann fein sein (Joachim Voth)

2015-01-09: Die separatistischen Tendenzen in Europa – zum Beispiel Katalonien oder Schottland – lassen sich ökonomisch erklären. Die erfolgreichsten und reichsten Länder des Kontinents sind klein. Ein Kommentar von Joachim Voth.
Artikel Finanz und Wirtschaft

Job Talks at the Department of Economics

2015-01-09: The Department of Economics is currently in the process of interviewing candidates for several assistant professorships. In connection with the interviews, there will be nine public presentations over the next three weeks. The department invites all interested parties to visit these extraordinary speeches on diverse subjects. For more information, please visit the Econ Agenda.
Econ Agenda

Influential Economists - ECONOMIST Ranking

2015-01-02: Econmists measure their influence by looking at their publication count. In an effort to gauge clout outside the ivory tower, The Economist asked Appinions, a startup that analyses influence online, to look at a list of 500 economists—the 450 atop the RePEc list, plus some we chose ourselves. Appinions tracked how much attention was paid to their utterances in the mainstream media, the blogosphere and in social media over a 90-day period up to December 11th 2014. That produced an alternative influence ranking.
Article in The Economist
Artikel in der NZZ
Artikel in der Bilanz