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Prof. Dr. Bettina Rockenbach

Professor of Experimental and Behavioral Economics at the University of Cologne

Director of the Reinhard Selten Institute

Principal Investigator in the Excellence Cluster ECONtribute

Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

Prof. Dr. Bettina Rockenbach holds a diploma in Mathematics from the University of Bonn. As an assistant of the Nobel laureate Prof. Dr. Reinhard Selten she received her Ph.D. and her Habilitation in Economics from the University of Bonn with contributions to game theory and experimental economics. From 2000 to 2011 Bettina Rockenbach held the Chair in Microeconomics at the University of Erfurt. She founded and directed the experimental economics laboratory (eLab) and the Center for Empirical Research in Economics and Behavioral Sciences (CEREB). From 2006 to 2008 Prof. Rockenbach served as the Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Law, and Social Sciences and from 2008 to 2011 as the Vice-President for Research and Young Academics at the University of Erfurt.

Since July 2011, Bettina Rockenbach holds the Chair for Experimental and Behavioral Economics at the University of Cologne. From October 2012 to March 2015 she served as the Vice Dean for Research and Young Academics of the WiSo-Faculty and from April 2015 to September 2023 Prof. Rockenbach served as the First Vice Rector and Vice Rector for Research and Innovation of the University of Cologne.

In 2013, Bettina Rockenbach was appointed to the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and from 2014 to 2017 she was a member of the Senate of the German Science Foundation DFG. Since 2017 Bettina Rockenbach is a director of the Reinhard Selten Institute.

A focus of Bettina Rockenbach's often interdisciplinary research is in the design of institutions fostering cooperation in social dilemma situations and the frameworks promoting socially responsible economic behavior. She publishes in leading economic journals as well as in distinguished general interest journals such as Science and Nature.

Extended CV (English)
Extended CV (German)

An overview of Bettina Rockenbach's current research projects and working papers can be found in the Research section.

Selected Publications

Cooperation and norm enforcement differ strongly across adult generations, European Economic Review, 2024, 162, 104659 (Matthias Praxmarer, Bettina Rockenbach, Matthias Sutter) [link]

Complementarities in Behavioral Interventions Evidence from a Field Experiment on Energy Conservation, Journal of Public Economics, 2023, 228, 105028 (Ximeng Fang, Lorenz Goette, Bettina Rockenbach, Matthias Sutter, Verena Tiefenbeck, Samuel Schoeb, Thorsten Staake) [link]

From Diagnosis to Treatment: A Large-Scale Field Experiment to Reduce Non-Payments for Water, Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming (Bettina Rockenbach, Sebastian Tonke, Arne Weiss)

Field evidence on the role of time preferences in conservation behavior, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2020, 104, 102368, (Suparee Boonmanunt, Thomas Lauer, Bettina Rockenbach, Arne Weiss)

Evasive Lying in Strategic Communication, Journal of Public Economics, 2017, 156, 59-72 (Kiryl Khalmetski, Bettina Rockenbach, Peter Werner)

Altruistic punishment does not increase with the severity of norm violations in the field, Nature Communications, 2016, 7, 13327 (Loukas Balafoutas, Nikos Nikiforakis & Bettina Rockenbach) [link]

The competitive advantage of honesty, European Economic Review, 2016, 89, 407-424 (Mark Pigors & Bettina Rockenbach) [link]

Consumer Social Responsibility, Management Science, 2016, 62 (11), 3123-3137 (Mark Pigors & Bettina Rockenbach) [pdf] [link]

On Cooperation in Open Communities, Journal of Public Economics2014, 120, 220-230 (Özgür Gürerk, Bernd Irlenbusch, Bettina Rockenbach) [link] 

Direct and indirect punishment among strangers in the field, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 2014, 111/45, 15924-15927 (Loukas Balafoutas, Nikos Nikiforakis, Bettina Rockenbach) [link] [data] [press release]

Measuring Lying Aversion, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2013, 93, 293-300 (Uri Gneezy, Bettina Rockenbach, Marta Serra-Garcia) [link]

To qualify as a social partner humans hide severe punishment, though their observed cooperativeness is decisive, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America (PNAS), 2011, 105/45, 18307-18312 (Bettina Rockenbach and Manfred Milinski) [link] [press release]

Monitoring in Teams: Using Laboratory Experiments to Study a Theory of the Firm, Journal of the European Economic Association, 2011, 9, 785-816 (Stefan Große, Louis Putterman, Bettina Rockenbach) [link] [full text]

In Search of Workers´Real Effort Reciprocity - A Field and a Laboratory Experiment, Journal of the European Economic Association, 2010, 8, 817- 837 (Heike Henning-Schmidt, Abdolkarim Sadrieh, Bettina Rockenbach) [link] [full text]

How to treat those of ill-repute, Nature, 2009, 457, 39-40 (Bettina Rockenbach & Manfred Milinski) [link]

Egalitarism in young children, Nature, 2008, 454, 1079-1084 (Ernst Fehr, Helen Bernhard, Bettina Rockenbach) [link] [press release]

Punisher pays, Nature, 2008, 452, 297-298 (Manfred Milinski & Bettina Rockenbach) [link]

Spying On Others Evolves, Science, 2007, 317/5837, 464-465 (Manfred Milinski & Bettina Rockenbach) [link]

The efficient interaction of indirect reciprocity and costly punishment, Nature, 2006, 444, 718-723 (Bettina Rockenbach and Manfred Milinski) [link]

The competitive advantage of sanctioning institutions, Science, 2006, 312/5770, 108-111 (Özgür Gürerk, Bernd Irlenbusch, Bettina Rockenbach) [link]

Collusion under Yardstick Competition, An Experimental Study, International Journal of Industrial Organization, 2004, 22, 1017-1038 (Jan Potters, Bettina Rockenbach, Abdolkarim SadriehEric van Damme) [link]

Detrimental Effects of Sanctions on Human Altruism, Nature, 2003, 422, 137-140 (Ernst Fehr and Bettina Rockenbach) [link]

Further Publications

Paying with you personal data: the insensitivity of private information provision to asymmetric benefits, Journal of the Economic Science Association, 2021, 124, (Bettina Rockenbach, Abdolkarim Sadrieh, Anne Schielke) [link]

Inequality and Competitive Effort: The Roles of Asymmetric Resources, Opportunity and Outcomes, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2021, 185, 81-96 (Francesco Fallucchi, Abhijit Ramalingam, Bettina Rockenbach, Marcin Waligora)

Self-serving behavior of the rich causes contagion effects among the poor, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2021, 183, 289-300 (Bettina Rockenbach, Sebastian Tonke, Arne Weiss)

Providing personal information to the benefit of others, PLOS ONE, 2020, 15(8), (Bettina Rockenbach, Abdolkarim Sadrieh, Anne Schielke).

Inequality in minimum-effort coordination, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2020, 177, 341-370, (Christoph Feldhaus, Bettina Rockenbach, Christopher Zeppenfeld).

Endogenously Emerging Gender Pay Gap in an Experimental Teamwork Setting, Games, 2018, 9, 98, 1-19, (Özgür Gürerk, Bernd Irlenbusch, Bettina Rockenbach).

United We Stand, Divided We Fall: The Limitations of Between-Group Comparisons for Fostering Within-Group Cooperation, Journal of Economic Psychology, 2018, 69, 19-19 (Robert Böhm, Bettina Rockenbach, Jarid Zimmermann).

The Dose Does it: Punishment and Cooperation in Dynamic Public-Good Games, Review of Behavioral Economics, forthcoming (Bettina Rockenbach & Irenaeus Wolff).

Pushing the Bad away: Reverse Tullock Contests, Journal of the Economic Science Association, 2018, 4(1), 73-85 (Bettina Rockenbach, Sebastian Schneiders, Marcin Waligora).

Moral punishment in everyday life, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2018, 44(12), 1697 –1711 (Wilhelm Hofmann, Mark J. Brandt, Daniel C. Wisneski, Bettina Rockenbach, Linda J. Skitka).

Designing Institutions for Social Dilemmas, German Economic Review, 2016, 17 (3), 316-336 (Bettina Rockenbach & Irenaeus Wolff).

The Royal Lie, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2013, Vol. 93, 305-313 (Mareike Hoffmann, Thomas Lauer, Bettina Rockenbach).

The Inter-Group Comparison – Intra-Group Cooperation Hypothesis: Social Comparisons Between Groups Increase Efficiency in Public Goods Provision, PLOS ONE, 2013 8(2): e56152. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056152 (Robert Böhm und Bettina Rockenbach).

On the interaction of the stick and the carrot in social dilemmas, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 2012, 299, 139-143 (Manfred Milinski und Bettina Rockenbach).

Sharing Information, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2012, 81, 689-698 (Bettina Rockenbach und Abdolkarim Sadrieh).

Motivating Teammates: The Leader’s Choice of Positive and Negative Incentives, Journal of Economic Psychology, 2009, 30/ 4, 591-607 (Özgür Gürerk, Bernd Irlenbusch, Bettina Rockenbach).

Not just hot air: Normative codes of conduct induce cooperative behavior, Review of Managerial Science, 2008, 2/3, 183-197 (Thomas Lauer, Bettina Rockenbach, Peter Walgenbach).

Fairness Crowded Out by Law: An Experimental Study on Withdrawal Rights: Comment, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 2007, 163/1, 106-108 (Bettina Rockenbach).

Teams Take the Better Risk, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2007, 63, 412-422 (Bettina Rockenbach, Abdolkarim Sadrieh, Barbara Mathauschek).

Option Pricing by Students and Professional Traders: A Behavioural Investigation, Managerial and Decision Economics, 2006, 27/6, 497-510 (Klaus Abbink und Bettina Rockenbach).

An Experimental Test of Design Alternatives for the British 3G / UMTS Auction, European Economic Review, 2005, 49, 503-530 (Klaus Abbink, Bernd Irlenbusch, Paul Pezanis-Christou, Bettina Rockenbach, Abdolkarim Sadrieh, Reinhard Selten).

A Strategic Analysis of Speculative Trade in a two-sided Asset Market with Information Diversity, International Game Theory Review, 2005, 7/2, 151-170 (Bettina Rockenbach).

Human Altruism: Economic, Neural, and Evolutionary Perspectives, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 2004, 14, 784-790 (Ernst Fehr und Bettina Rockenbach).

The Behavioral Relevance of Mental Accounting for the Pricing of Financial Options, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2004, 53, 513-527 (Bettina Rockenbach).

The Fisherman's Problem: Exploring the tension between cooperative and non-cooperative concepts in a simple game, Journal of Economic Psychology, 2003, 24/4, 425-445 (Klaus Abbink, Ron Darziv, Zohar Gilula, Harel Goren, Bernd Irlenbusch, Arnon Keren, Bettina Rockenbach, Abdolkarim Sadrieh, Reinhard Selten, Shmuel Zamir).

The behavioural approach to the strategic analysis of spectrum auctions: The case of the German DCS-1800 auction, ifo Studien - Zeitschrift für empirische Wirtschaftsforschung, 2002, 3, 457-480 (Klaus Abbink, Bernd Irlenbusch, Bettina Rockenbach, Abdolkarim Sadrieh, Reinhard Selten). Reprinted in: Illing, Gerhard and Ulrich Klüh (Eds.): Spectrum Auctions and Competition in Telecommunications, MIT Press 2003.

Information, Aggregation, Speculation and Arbitrage in an Option Market Experiment, Revue d'Economie Politique, 2001, 111/1, 41-65 (Bettina Rockenbach).

Der Fluch der Erfahrung: Professionelle Trader versus Studenten in einem Optionsbewer­tungsexperiment, in: Elisabeth Hehn (Hrsg.): Innovative Anlagekonzepte, 2000, Gabler Verlag, Wiesbaden (Klaus Abbink und Bettina Rockenbach).