Research at the Chair is strongly focused on the conceptual development of the economic ethics theory – for which the continued consideration of the application of the theory to practice is deemed to be integral.
Hence, the Chair’s research consists, on the one hand, of theoretical, conceptual work on how the understanding and rules of interactions in an economic context are related to the outcomes produced by individuals, who are simultaneously moral subjects and economic actors.
On the other hand, much of the Chair’s research involves applying the theory to current moral and economic issues, such as the financial crisis, or in a particular industry field. In this way, Master and doctoral thesis candidates are encouraged to examine how strong ethical reasoning can be applied to resolve issues in their particular field of expertise.
The results of our research work can be seen in our publications.
Areas of Research of the Chair’s Team Members
Prof. Dr. Andreas Suchanek
Economic and business ethics
Management of trust and integrity
Methodology of social sciences
Elisa Maria Böldicke
Methodology of social sciences and philosophy
Work culture within the social market economy
Ethics and intellectuality in the modern society
Human rights (e.g. migration and integration, middle east) and sociology
Institutional framework and game theory
CSR in supply chains
Completed Doctoral Projects (Selection)
A New Institutional Economics Perspective on Industry Self-Regulation
The idea of self-regulation of an industry has become an important issue not only in practice but also in academic research. Nonetheless, comparably few studies consider which factors influence the effectiveness of self-regulation. The basic problems of defining, monitoring and enforcing appropriate standards are known, but an integrated research of real examples of this form of cooperation amongst competitors is rarely done. Using the criterion of incentive-compatibility, the study asks: “When can a self-regulation initiative be effective in mitigating unethical practices of firms in an industry?” Put differently: Why should a firm voluntarily constrain itself in a collective agreement? Jan Jan Sammeck derived a framework for analyzing under which conditions one can expect systematically, that firms will contribute to implementing a self-regulation regime.
Homo Economicus and the Idea of Human Nature
Few concepts have been so heavily discussed and called into question as that of the rational and self-interested actor: Homo Economicus. The thesis of Klaus Kerscher details the arguments of both the advocates and the critics of the Homo Economicus conception. The arguments are structured to exemplify that contradictions are unavoidable whereby singular scientific descriptions of human nature are, by definition, a ‘reduced’ form of the phenomenon which they are trying to depict. The dangers of this ‘reduction’ are made evident – as are the remarkable opportunities which the concept holds. Paradoxically, a well-informed interpretation of the Homo Economicus enables societal phenomena which human beings collectively consider themselves to have created, but in the face of which any given individual is powerless, to be analyzed and understood. Examples of such phenomena range from trade in international markets, to the financial crisis or climate change.
List of doctoral theses at HHL