Axel Ockenfels is Professor of Economics at the University of Cologne and Director of the Cologne Laboratory of Economic Research, and he coordinates the Excellence Center for Social and Economic Behavior and the Research Area “Market Design & Behavior” in the Excellence Cluster ECONtribute. He held visiting positions at Penn State, Harvard and Stanford University.
Ockenfels' research focuses on “behavioral economic engineering”, which combines tools from game theory and behavioral research to design markets, algorithms and competitive strategies. This has many useful applications. Indeed, Ockenfels' research has benefitted from collaborations with governments, market platforms, companies and researchers mostly across Europe and the U.S. Examples include Ockenfels' early contributions to the design of eBay's auction platform and reputation mechanism, and the design of various markets and choice architectures in the Internet, electricity, climate, telecommunication, finance, transport and other sectors, as well as in firms.
Ockenfels is a member of the Berlin Brandenburgische, the North Rhine-Westphalian and the European Academies of Sciences and of the National Academy of Science and Engineering. He serves as a Department Editor for Management Science and in the Academic Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. In 2005 he was the first economist in 17 years to receive the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Science Foundation. In 2006 he received the Gossen Prize of the German Economic Association, in 2018 he was awarded the ERC Advanced Grant of the European Research Council, and in 2020 he received the Zukunftspreis of the University of Cologne.