Michael Kosfeld is a Professor of Business Administration at Goethe University Frankfurt, where he holds the Chair of Organization and Management. He graduated in Mathematics from the University of Bonn in 1995 and received his PhD in Economics at Tilburg University in 1999. Before joining the University of Frankfurt, he was employed at the Institute for Empirical Research at the University of Zurich from 2000 to 2008. His primary area of research is behavioural and organizational economics with particular interest in the theoretical and experimental analysis of social interaction, boundedly rational decision-making and the psychology of incentives.

He joined IZA as a Research Fellow in October 2005.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 11288

Evidence suggests that acquiring human capital is related to better life outcomes, yet young peoples' decisions to invest in or stop acquiring human capital are still poorly understood. We investigate the role of time and reference-dependent preferences in such decisions. Using a data set that is unique in its combination...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10825
Leonie Gerhards, Michael Kosfeld

We study the effect of likability on female and male team behavior in a lab experiment. Extending a two-player public goods game and a minimum effort game by an additional pre-play stage that informs team members about their mutual likability we find that female teams lower their contribution to the...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10410
Guido Friebel, Michael Kosfeld, Gerd Thielmann

We conduct experimental games with police applicants in Germany to investigate whether intrinsically motivated agents self-select into public service. Our focus is on trustworthiness and the willingness to enforce norms as key dimensions of intrinsic motivation in the police context. We find that police applicants are more trustworthy than non-applicants,...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 8055
forthcoming in: Economic Inquiry

We manipulate workers' perceived meaning of a job in a field experiment. Half of the workers are informed that their job is important, the other half are told that their job is of no relevance. Results show that workers exert more effort when meaning is high, corroborating previous findings on...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7411
published in: Economics Letters, 2013, 121, 400-404

NGOs and other non-profit organizations attract workers who strongly identify themselves with their missions. We study whether these "good guys" are more trustworthy and how such pronounced group identities affect trust and trustworthiness within the groups and toward out-groups. We find that subjects who strongly identify themselves with a non-profit...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 6460
published in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2014, 100, 99-110

Do employees work harder if their job has the right mission? In a laboratory labor market experiment, we test whether subjects provide higher effort if they can choose the mission of their job. We observe that subjects do not provide higher effort than in a control treatment. Surprised by this...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 6061
forthcoming in: Review of Finance

Previous research shows that firms shroud high add-on prices in competitive markets with naive consumers leading to inefficiency. We analyze the effects of regulatory intervention via educating naive consumers on equilibrium prices and welfare. Our model allows firms to shroud, unshroud, or partially unshroud add-on prices. Results show that consumer...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5374
published in: American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 2014, 6 (3), 256-264

Several studies have shown that dictator-game giving declines substantially if the dictator can exploit situational "excuses" for not being generous. In this experimental study we investigate if this result extends to more natural social interactions involving reciprocal behavior. We provide the second mover in a reciprocal game with an excuse...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5040
published in: American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 2011, 3 (3), 86-99

We study the impact of status and social recognition on worker performance in a field experiment. In collaboration with an international non-governmental organization we hired students to work on a database project. Students in the award treatment were offered a congratulatory card from the organization honoring the best performance. The...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 4125
revised version published as 'Team production in competitive labor markets with adverse selection' in: European Economic Review, 2014, 68, 181–198

Rothschild and Stiglitz (1976) show that there need not exist a competitive equilibrium in markets with adverse selection. Building on their framework we demonstrate that externalities between agents − an agent's utility upon accepting a contract depends on the average type attracted by the respective principal − can solve the...