News and Media

Negative Emotions Can Reduce Our Capacity to Trust

2019-03-13: It is no secret that a bad mood can negatively affect how we treat others. However, does it also make us more distrustful? Yes, according to a new study, which shows that negative emotions reduce how much we trust others, even if these emotions were triggered by events that have nothing to do with the decision to trust. The study was carried out by an international research team around Christian Ruff and Ernst Fehr.


Globalization, Trade Wars and Jackson Hole

David Dorn

2019-03-13: How has economics changed over the last 30 years? With this question Roger Schawinski and David Dorn start their radio interview: they discuss the recent developments in economic science and the role of empirical work in Dorn's research. The interview spans topics such as globalization, trade wars and China's significance for the world economy, and in addition you can learn something about David Dorn's background and his taste in music.


«A Reasonable Request»

Ernst Fehr

2019-02-26: Ernst Fehr was among the 3300 economists who signed a petition for the immediate introduction of a global CO2 tax last week. In the interview with the NZZ am Sonntag, he explains why he considers such a tax necessary and why all political parties can in principle support this demand.

Article (PDF, 105 KB)

Morals versus Money: How We Make Social Decisions

2019-02-06: Our actions are guided by moral values. However, monetary incentives can get in the way of our good intentions. An international group of Neuroeconomists under the supervision of Christian Ruff have now investigated in which area of the brain conflicts between moral and material motives are resolved. Their findings reveal that our actions are more social when these deliberations are inhibited.

Press Release

Monthly Wages Make Saving Easier

Lorenzo Casaburi

2019-02-05: In developing countries, most workers and farmers are paid on a daily basis. This makes it more difficult for them to set aside money for high expenditures. In the current edition of the American Economic Review, Lorenzo Casaburi shows that dairy farmers and farm workers would prefer monthly payments and are prepared to accept up to 15% less wages.  His results also show that overcoming self-commitment issues are the main reason for preferring monthly payments.

Paper in American Economic Review
Press Release

A Disorderly Brexit Would Have Far-Reaching Consequences

Ralph Ossa

2019-01-29: Many international companies hold a business office in the UK not only to serve the local market, but also to export directly into the EU. Ralph Ossa explains in the Tagesschau how uncertainty about the future relationship with the EU challenges this business model and what far-reaching consequences an disorderly Brexit could have.


The Price of Motherhood


2019-01-28: A study recently co-authored by Josef Zweimüller generates broad media interest. In all European countries, but especially in Germany and Austria, motherhood has a drastic effect on a woman's income. In Germany, ten years after the birth of the first child, mothers earn an average of 61 per cent less than in the year before they gave birth, in Austria the figure is 51 per cent. No such effect can be seen with men. Availability of daycare does not have an influence on these figures. 

Süddeutsche Zeitung
Der Standard
Paper (PDF, 351 KB)

Interview with David Dorn


2019-01-25: Interview with David Dorn in Bilanz. Why GDP per capita is not a good measure for economic policy decisions, how China's integration into the world trade system has had such an unexpected impact on labor markets and why it is important to ensure economic growth that benefits the majority.
Article (PDF, 751 KB)

Nudging Does Not Necessarily Improve Decisions

Nick Netzer

2019-01-24: Nudging, the concept of influencing people’s behavior without imposing rules, bans or coercion, is an idea that government officials and marketing specialists alike are keen to harness, and itis often viewed as a one-size-fits-all solution. Now, a study by researchers from the University of Zurich puts things into perspective: Whether a nudge really does improve decisions depends on a person’s underlying decision-making process. And science still has to agree on that one. 

Press Release
Paper in Journal of Political Economy

Potential for Risky Behavior is also in Your Genes

Pietro Biroli

2019-01-24: As part of an international research project Pietro Biroli, Christian Zünd and Ernst Fehr found genetic variants associated with risk tolerance and risky behaviors. It is one of the first studies to link genetic variants with behavioral outcomes, which are relevant to social science research.

Press Release
Paper in Nature Genetics

Trade Wars Know no Winners

2019-01-22: Interview with Ralph Ossa in Finanz und Wirtschaft on the current trade dispute between the USA and China. Europe and Switzerland are still only marginally affected, but this could change in the near future.

Interview (PDF, 27 KB)

Public Recognition and Status Competition: Improving Performance or Propelling Risk?

Joachim Voth

2019-01-17: Public recognition can lead employees to exert greater effort. However, status competition is also associated with excessive expenditure on status goods, bankruptcy, and more risk taking by money managers. In a their paper, Joachim Voth and co-authors examine the effects of recognition and status competition based on data of World War II fighter pilots and found these associations confirmed. While the public recognition of colleagues led to higher exertion, the outcomes varied across skill groups. The best outperformed themselves successfully. The average pilot however, while increasing their effort, often also took to many risks, increasing their own mortality rates. 

Article in The Times 
Paper: Killer incentives

Carlos Alós-Ferrer Appointed Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Economic Psychology


2019-01-16: As of Jan 1 2019, Carlos Alós-Ferrer has taken on the role or Editior-in-Chief of the Journal of Economic Psychology. The journal focuses on understanding behavioral, in particular psychological, aspects of economic phenomena and processes on different levels of aggregation, from the household and the individual consumer to the macro level of whole nations, e.g. economic behavior in connection with inflation, unemployment, taxation, economic development, as well as consumer information and economic behavior in the market place. 

Journal Homepage

David Hémous Receives Excellence in Refereeing Award

David Hemous

2019-01-16: David Hémous received the 2018 “Excellence in Refereeing Award” from the Journal of the European Economic Association (JEEA). The award recognizes the outstanding work of those referees whose service and dedication have contributed to the quality of the Journal of the European Economic Association.


Banking Integration in the EMU – let’s get real.


2019-01-11:  Bank-to-bank lending in the euro area has increased, direct cross-border lending has not. An article by Mathias Hoffmann, Egor Maslov et al. in VOX CEPR Policy Portal shows that dependence on domestic banks reduces risk-sharing in a crisis, reducing GDP growth in affected country-sectors. This exposes economies with high shares of SMEs and high domestic bank dependence to risks from global banking shocks. Benefits from banking integration are only robust to global shocks if banking integration takes the form of cross-border lending to firms and households.


Jakub Steiner Appointed Associate Professor

David Dorn

2019-01-10: Prof. Dr. Jakub Steiner has been appointed Associate Professor ad personam for Microeconomic Theory starting 1 January 2019. Jakub Steiner originally studied physics and obtained a PhD in Economics from the Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute (CERGE-EI) in Prague in 2006. After lecturing at the University of Edinburgh, he was assistant professor at Northwestern University. After 2012/2013 he held a 50% professorship at the University of Edinburgh, CERGE-EI and the Center for Theoretical Study in Prague. Since June 2018 Jakub Steiner has been a Senior Research Associate at the UZH Department of Economics as part of his ERC Consolidator Grant. His research focuses on theoretical models of human behavior.

David Dorn: One of the Most Cited Economists of our Time

David Dorn

2019-01-08: David Dorn is one of the most cited contemporary economist regarding recency and impact. Based on REPECs citations ranking including the number of citations, weighted the recursive impact factor, and discounted by citation age (WDScCites) he ranks on an excellent 9th place globally. 


Most Influential Economists in Switzerland

2019-01-08: The Tages Anzeiger’s list of the ten most influential Swiss Economists includes three members of our Department: Ernst Fehr, Dina Pomeranz, and Tobias Straumann

Interview with David Hémous

David Hemous

2019-01-08: The Progressive Post features an interview with David Hémous on automation, digitization and how to protect workers, but not necessarily jobs. 
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Isolation Instead of Innovation?

David Dorn

2019-01-07: At the beginning of the new year, the radio programme Trend takes a look at the current global economic situation. In an interview with David Dorn, the programme explores the question of why scepticism about free trade is increasing and what the consequences of the economic isolation of individual countries are. David Dorn's research shows how the job losses of the last two decades are related to these developments and how economic changes also bring about political changes. 

Radios SRF Trend

A Look Back at 2018

Ralph Ossa

2019-01-03: SRF Börse takes a look back at the year 2018 and the dispute over trade tariffs. In an interview, Ralph Ossa explains which effects the current trade war might have and what this means for Switzerland in particular.

Video SRF Börse