Mission and Vision

Building bridges for research in labor economics

IZA is a bridge builder for research in labor economics. We narrow the distance between science and society, and transport relevant knowledge about the working world to the general public, political actors and economic players. IZA is the hub of a global network of scholars who work with us to create a sound economic understanding of how labor markets work and how labor market policies perform. We contribute to the future of labor research by supporting young scholars on their paths to becoming tomorrow’s leading academics.

IZA was initiated by the Deutsche Post Foundation in 1998. The institute is based in Bonn, Germany, where a team of expert researchers studies the future of work. They deliver answers about how to effectively safeguard employment and maintain social cohesion. IZA engages in fundamental research, scientific policy advice, and active transfer of knowledge. We are impartial and follow the rules of good academic practice in all our activities.

Impartial mediator between science and society

IZA is driven by the conviction that excellent research in labor economics is relevant to society. Making the meaning and implications of its findings visible is a core part of our mission. We therefore engage in a comprehensive transfer of knowledge that addresses various target groups within the triangle of politics, the public and the economy. This transfer includes transparent and impartial scientific policy advice. With own and third-party funding, we initiate projects with innovative content and methodology. At IZA, we are continually advancing our research agenda to enable us to provide well-supported answers to pressing societal challenges concerning the future of work.

The flagship of our science communication is the IZA World of Labor, a unique multimedia encyclopedia of current knowledge in labor economics created together with our expert contributors. Covering a broad range of often controversial labor market issues, it delivers concise surveys of research findings, which are accessible, well-balanced and policy-relevant. With our initiatives to provide matter-of-fact information on labor market issues to the public, IZA overcomes the widespread divide between practice and research, and helps prevent an erosion in the credibility of academic research.

A global cluster of excellence in labor market research

IZA has established itself as the leading international platform that links and disseminates cutting-edge research in all areas of labor economics. Our global network of more than 1,300 selected research fellows who are distinguished by their excellent and relevant contributions, fosters collaboration within academia as well as exchange between science and practice. IZA honors outstanding achievements in our field with the IZA Prize in Labor Economics.

Topically focused program areas give clear structure to the network of IZA. Renowned scholars who have shaped the research agenda in their respective field act as program directors. They provide an impetus for research topics and organize scientific exchange on innovative research questions and methods. Thus we always keep our fingers on the pulse of international labor market research.

The IZA Discussion Papers are a recognized reference for anyone interested in the latest trends in labor economics around the globe. In the series, members of our research network publish around 800 academic papers every year. They stimulate important debates at an early stage and make new knowledge public long before it appears in scientific journals.

IZA builds structures that create and disseminate valuable knowledge. We organize first-rate scientific events that serve critical discussion of newest research. Events like the Transatlantic Meeting of Labor Economists build bridges between European and American labor market research. IZA coordinates the GLM|LIC initiative, which supports research projects in the world’s poorest regions and provides impulses to their development. IDSC, the Research Data Center of IZA, facilitates access to data for scientists and thus provides the raw material for empirical labor research.

Exploring the changing world of work

While work continues to provide the basis for our material and social well-being, it is undergoing continuous transformation. The IZA research teams in Bonn explore how the world of work and labor markets are changing. They investigate how to design an institutional framework that maintains employment and social cohesion. Our research regarding the future of work is primarily empirical, grounded on solid theoretical foundations. It utilizes statistical evaluation techniques, controlled experiments, and behavioral simulation models. In its research activities, IZA involves researchers from its global network and cooperates with prestigious academic institutions, such as the University of Bonn and the briq Institute on Behavior and Inequality, which is also funded by the Deutsche Post Foundation.

IZA’s in-house research on the future of work is currently divided into four areas of expertise: (1) Changing World of Work, (2) Workers of the Future (3) Sustainable Labor Policies, (4) Work and Social Cohesion.

Promoting the future of labor research

We motivate young researchers to explore solutions for societally relevant labor market issues, and build bridges on their paths to a career in academia. The best young scholars get invited to join the IZA network as Research Affiliates, and are treated on an equal footing with our established Research Fellows. We learn from their innovations and enhance the visibility of their fresh views. We organize events such as the annual IZA Summer School in Labor Economics that allow young academics to connect to and learn from experienced economists. The Young Labor Economist Award honors scholars who have made extraordinary contributions to advancing labor economics already early in their careers.

IZA recruits outstanding young researchers who seek innovative answers to work-related challenges of the future, and who aspire to leading positions in labor market research. Our international staff in Bonn is organized in flexible research teams which jointly develop and implement their agenda. Experienced team leaders coordinate these groups and provide guidance for junior researchers. IZA cooperates with excellent graduate schools, such as the Bonn Graduate School of Economics. We offer a dynamic environment to our Research Associates that helps advance their academic careers in the field of labor economics, and provides an opportunity to gain valuable experience in science communication and academic policy advice.