Cologne Institute for Economic Research

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German Economic Institute
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln e.V.
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Logo.svg
Abbreviation IW
Formation 1951 (67 years ago) (1951)
Type Think Tank
Legal status Registered Association (e.V.)
Headquarters Cologne, Germany
Cologne Institute for Economic Research Headquarters in Cologne, Germany

The German Economic Institute (German: Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln e.V.) (IW) is a private economic research institute in Germany, which promotes a liberal economic and social order. The German Economic Institute is based in Cologne, Germany, with additional offices in Berlin, Germany, and Brussels, Belgium.

The IW compiles analyses on economic and social policy issues. As a think tank, it combines research, consultancy and communication services. The research is based on empirical principles and sound scientific methodology. It stands for a socially responsible free market economy in German for the benefit of society as a whole. The institute’s long term goal is to support a liberal economic and social order in Germany and beyond and to improve understanding of how business and society function and interact..

The institute was founded in 1951 under the auspices of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA) and the Federation of German Industries (BDI). The German Economic Institute is a registered association (e.V.). Its membership consists of some 110 German business and employers' associations as well as a number of individual companies. Membership fees finance the regular scientific research and advocacy. Additionally, the institute conducts research projects and carries out numerous studies financed by third parties, such as public institutions, foundations and businesses.

IW Group and Governance Structures[edit]

The German Economic Institute has four subsidiaries which together constitute the IW Group. The Group is composed of the core research department (IW Research), a commercial research consultancy (IW Consult), a publishing house (IW Medien), the German operator of the Junior Achievement Programme (IW Junior) and an academy (IW Akademie). Through the organization’s decision-making bodies members contribute to the institute’s general orientation without having any specific influence on the contents of conducts research and the subsidiaries’ daily business. The annual general meeting of the executive board of the German Economic Institute elected Arndt Günter Kirchhoff, CEO of KIRCHHOFF Holding GmbH & Co. KG, as its honorary president.

IW Research[edit]

Prof. Dr. Michael Hüther is the Director of the German Economic Institute and head of its management board. The management board consists of the Director, his Deputy Dr. Hans-Peter Fröhlich and the Heads of Research Dr. Hubertus Bardt and Dr. Hans-Peter Klös.

The Berlin Office is led by Dr. Knut Bergmann and the Brussels Office by Sandra Parthie.

The institute’s research department itself is subdivided into eleven research units.

Research Units[edit]

  • Labour Market - main focus on employment and unemployment, working conditions and personnel policy.
  • Vocational qualification and specialists – Vocational training, further education, securing skilled personnel and international VET/PET research
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Inclusion - information resources for maximising the potential of workers with disabilities
  • Education, Migration and Innovation – examining how education and migration contribute to securing a skilled workforce.
  • Financial and Real Estate Markets – monitoring and researching the economic significance of the finance and real estate markets
  • International Economics and Economic Outlook – promoting open markets and sensible business regulation at the European and global levels as well as analyzing the business cycle, economic growth and globalisation and provide advice for policymakers and business associations
  • Public Finance, Social Security Systems, Income and Wealth Distribution – investigating the fiscal consequences of public policy and analysing the incentive effects for companies and private households
  • Structural Change and Competition – monitoring corporate activity in a constantly changing market environment
  • Wage Policy and Industrial Relations – pay and industrial relations issues including policy, corporate codetermination, the process of the wage finding and the roles of the parties involved
  • Environment, Energy, Infrastructure – examining the effects of economic activity on the environment and the effects of environmental and energy policy on business
  • Behavioral Economics and Business Ethics – investigating the influence of institutions such as values, standards, rules and laws on the state, society, business and individuals

Cross Functional Research Groups[edit]

Additionally to the eleven research units there are two cross functional research groups staffed by researchers working on the following two issues:

  • Big Data Analytics
  • Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecast
  • Microdata and Method Development

IW Consult[edit]

The IW Consult carries out research, development and knowledge-transfer projects in cooperation with companies, employers' associations, government ministries, foundations and other institutions. IW Consult also runs the office of “ecl@ss”, a digital product standard.

IW Medien[edit]

Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln Medien GmbH (IW Media), the media arm of the German Economic Institute (IW), provides publicity-oriented packaging of economic information.The weekly newsletter, Informationsdienst des Instituts der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln (iwd), carries articles on economics, society, and social policy, as well as analyses and economic data.

IW Junior[edit]

The Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln JUNIOR gGmbH is the German operator of the Junior Achievement Programme. It gives school students practical insights into the world of commerce based on the concept of ”learning by doing”.

IW Akademie[edit]

The IW Akademie (IW Academy) conducts seminars in the field of executive education based on its research. The aim is to demonstrate how potential conflicts between the profit motive and personal conscience can be resolved. Additionally, the IW Academy offers a Master’s programme "Behavioral Ethics, Economics and Psychology (M.A.)" in collaboration with the University of Cologne, the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University.

Brussels Office[edit]

The IW's EU-Office located in Brussels was established in July 2015. The key areas of research expertise regarding the European Union include:

  • International Economic Order and Economic Outlook
    • EU Policies:
      • Impact of regulation on open markets and business
      • EU Monetary Union (EMU) and the Euro debt crisis, the EU Internal market and the EU cohesion policy
    • International Economic Policies:
      • Business cycle development, economic growth and globalization
      • International competitiveness of the German economy and the chances and challenges of globalization
      • Global trade agreements and the international monetary system
  • Monetary Policy and the Economics of the Financial Markets
    • Regulation of financial markets, creation of a European Banking Union
    • Inflation developments and the economic cycle, e.g. correlation of low interest rates and inflation leading to re-allocation between creditors and debtors
  • Environment, Energy, Infrastructure
    • Effects of economic activity on the environment
    • Effects of environmental and energy policies on business
  • Structural Change, Digitalisation and Competition
    • Corporate activity in a constantly changing market environment
    • Strategic behavior of companies, the market design and the impact of regulations
    • Structural changes such as digitalization, new technologies and the industrial internet and their impacts on the market design
    • How companies can prosper in changing market


External links[edit]