2008 - 2010 Thyssen Project
In 2008 the Thyssen Foundation funded our research project on group behaviour and the provision of public goods. Our main interest was to analyse important determinants of group behaviour in a public goods game. In particular, we examined what impact decision rules have on group investments and how group size influences the members´ decision behaviour. For a better understanding of these topics we carried out laboratory experiments with 544 subjects in 24 sessions at the Laboratory for Economic Research at the University of Cologne. Our results showed that groups are not necessarily more egoistic than individuals, that majority rule causes more cooperative behaviour than unanimity rule and that increasing group size does not necessarily decrease cooperation. These findings contribute to insights in social psychology, Public Choice Theory, theories of democracy and theories of collective action.
2004 - 2008 Volkswagen Project
This project focused on opportunities "Beyond Rigidities of National Production and Innovation Models". It was supervised by Colin Crouch and Helmut Voelzkow. I was in charge of an analysis of the transformation of German capitalism and a case study on business development in the Cologne media industry. The general thesis put forward in this project was that innovation in local economies can emerge as a consequence of (informal) deviations from national production rules which answer to a specific sectoral demand of growing industries and are furthered by unique territorial resources of cooperation. The results are presented in a volume on Innovation in Local Economies published by Oxford University Press.
1998 - 2003 Max Planck Research Group
This project was based at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne and the European University Institute, Florence. It constituted an international research group which analysed governance structures in local economies, demonstrating how these structures influence the provision of collective competition goods for enterprises. Two volumes, Local Production Systems in Europe - Rise or Demise? and Changing Governance of Local Economies, both published by Oxford University Press, present findings on the causes and consequences of the diverging ways in which these goods are delivered. I was in charge of analysing the German production model. Moreover, I carried out several case studies, for instance on the machinery industry in Stuttgart and the steel industry in Duisburg. My dissertation, in which I examine the effects of federal and unitary state organization on local business development, was a spin-off from this project: Staatliche Ordnung und räumliche Wirtschaftspolitik.