Heinrich Freiherr von Stackelberg

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Heinrich Freiherr von Stackelberg (* October 18 . Jul / 31 October  1905 greg. In Kudinowo in Moscow ; † 12. October 1946 in Madrid ) was a German economist , he came from the noble family Stackelberg .

Heinrich von Stackelberg, together with other economists such as Joan Robinson , Edward H. Chamberlin , Ronald H. Coase , Frederik Ludvig Bang von Zeuthen and Borge Barfod, laid the essential foundation for marketing theory by taking into account the microeconomic cost allocation, network effects , quality and sales channels .


The son of a Baltic German who came from Estonia lived with his family in Yalta on the Crimean peninsula during the First World War. After the First World War, he first fled to the Baltic States and later to Stettin . He attended the Humanistic Gymnasium in Cologne and studied after the 1924 high school graduation with mathematics, political science and economics in Cologne and was there in 1930 with a thesis on foundations of a pure cost theory (1932) PhD . From May 1925 he was an unscheduled and from August 1930 regular assistant to Erwin von Beckerath . In 1935 the habilitation on market form and balance followed .

In addition to his studies, Stackelberg was politically active. In 1919 he joined the German National Youth Association . In 1921 he took part in the break-off of the Young National Federation (JuNaBU) and in 1930 was the leader of the "Westmark" of the Fusionsbund Freischar Junge Nation . At the beginning of 1932 he took over from Rudolf Craemer for a short time the editorial management of the association organ of the JuNaBu, the Young National Voices . Stackelberg joined the NSDAP on December 1, 1931, and the SS on June 30, 1933 . In addition, from October 1933 to November 1934 he was the leader of the Nazi lecturers at the University of Cologne.

In 1935, Stackelberg was appointed as a regular associate professor for economics at the University of Berlin . Together with Hans Peter, he founded the archive for mathematical economic and social research . In 1937 he became a member of the Academy for German Law and an economic consultant in the main training office of the NSDAP , for which he gave courses at NS-Ordensburgen . In the same year he joined the Ergonomic Institute of the German Labor Front , where he built up a department of economic theory .

During his time in Berlin, Stackelberg kept in close contact with Jens Jessen . Under Jessen's influence, he increasingly distanced himself from National Socialism. In a political assessment of Stackelberg, which was written for the NSDAP Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg at the end of 1942 , it was said: “Here in Berlin, Stackelberg has completely failed politically; on the contrary, he was generally perceived as an obstacle to the implementation of a clear National Socialist university policy. For his part, he has not made the slightest attempt at active political engagement. Rather, it seems typical of his lack of instinct when it comes to political issues that he let himself be brought to Berlin on Prof. Jessen's skirts, of all things. "

According to his pupil Hans Möller , Stackelberg applied for two unsuccessful resignation from the SS after hostility caused by his church marriage to Elisabeth Countess von Kanitz.

In 1936 he accepted the doctorate of Arnold Horwitz , supervised by Constantin von Dietze , as a co-referee . In February 1937, shortly before the ban on doctoral studies for Jews of German nationality was announced on April 15, 1937, Horwitz passed his oral examination. With Stackelberg's support, Dietze petitioned the university administration, and Horwitz received his doctorate. However, even after the end of the war, Stackelberg never explicitly distanced himself from National Socialism and his own involvement in it.

In 1940 Stackelberg received offers to the University of Strasbourg and the University of Prague , both in occupied countries, which he did not accept. In 1941, Stackelberg accepted a full professorship at the University of Bonn . Shortly after the start of World War II , he was drafted into the Wehrmacht . He worked as a war administrator in the OKW's science department and in the rank of special leader as an interpreter on the Eastern Front . After falling ill, he was released from military service in 1943. Stackelberg also took part in a "professors' committee" on questions of war financing, which in the spring of 1943 led to the establishment of the Erwin von Beckerath working group , one of the so-called Freiburg circles . It is controversial whether the work of this group was about "resistance" or not. While Hans Möller answers this question in the affirmative, researchers like the Marburg sociologist Dieter Haselbach consider their work to be systematic.

On behalf of the Foreign Office and the Reich Ministry of Education , Stackelberg went to Madrid in 1943 , where he took up a visiting professorship and died in 1946 of lymphatic cancer.

Scientific contribution

In his work Market Form and Equilibrium, von Stackelberg developed an independent theory of market forms that is particularly dedicated to oligopolies . He also showed that the full competition model is completely unrealistic. Real markets are mostly determined by oligopolies in which the providers are able to influence prices. In addition, von Stackelberg also attached great importance to classic marketing functions such as product quality and sales channels as competitive parameters. In doing so, he gave the then young marketing theory a theoretical framework.

Stackelberg's best-known contribution today is the description of a market situation that has since been known as the Stackelberg duopoly . As in the previously known Cournot duopoly , two similar providers of a product face each other on a market and decide on the amount of product they offer (this under general conditions that correspond to those in game theory that was developed later ). While the providers in the Cournot duopoly make their quantitative decisions simultaneously, the Stackelberg providers make them one after the other. This change means that the first decisive (Stackelberg leader) can achieve a higher profit than in the Cournot duopoly at the expense of those who follow suit (Stackelberg follower).


  • Basics of a pure cost theory . Vienna 1932.
  • Market form and balance . Vienna 1934.
  • Theory and Practice of Economic Management. Written in 1943. Published in 1949 in Ordo
  • Basics of theoretical economics . 2nd edition, Bern 1951.
  • Theory of sales policy and quality variation , in: AE Ott: price theory , Cologne 1965, pp 230-318.


  • Knut BorchardtStackelberg, Heinrich Freiherr von. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 24, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-428-11205-0 , pp. 779-800 ( digitized version ).
  • Walter Eucken : Heinrich von Stackelberg (1905–1946) . In: Economic Journal , Vol. LVIII, London 1948.
  • Michael Grüttner : Biographical Lexicon on National Socialist Science Policy (= Studies on Science and University History. Volume 6). Synchron, Heidelberg 2004, ISBN 3-935025-68-8 , p. 164.
  • Hans-Paul Höpfner: The University of Bonn in the Third Reich. Academic biographies under National Socialist rule . Bouvier, Bonn 1999, ISBN 3-416-02904-6 , p. 262 ff.
  • Xenia Matschke, Gautam Tripathi: The Stackelberg Dyopoly . In: Das Wirtschaftsstudium (WISU), Vol. 28, Issue 1 (January 1999), pp. 114–120.
  • Hans Möller: Heinrich von Stackelberg and his contribution to economics . In: Journal for the entire political science , 105. Tübingen 1949, pp. 395-428.
  • Klaus OW Müller: Heinrich Stackelberg - a modern bourgeois economist . Berlin (GDR) 1965.
  • Karl Heinz Roth: Intelligence and Social Policy in the “Third Reich”. A methodological-historical study using the example of the Ergonomic Institute of the German Labor Front. Saur, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-598-11166-5 (again 2011)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. so-called "NS lecturer guide", cf. Michael Grüttner, Biographical Lexicon on National Socialist Science Policy . Synchron, Heidelberg 2004, p. 164, and Klaus OW Müller, as early as 1965
  2. Quoted from: Hans-Paul Höpfner: The University of Bonn in the Third Reich , Bonn 1999, p. 265.
  3. * September 7, 1917 in Mohrungen ; † March 1, 2012 in Cologne; see obituary in FAZ March 7, 2012, page 31
  4. a b Nikolaus Piper: World without balance. Heinrich von Stackelberg promoted the theory of market forms. For a long time he justified National Socialism , in: Die Zeit , October 1, 1993.
  5. ^ Peter R. Senn: The Scientific Contributions of Heinrich von Stackelberg. In: Jürgen Georg Backhaus (Ed.). Handbook of the History of Economic Thought. Insights on the Founders of Modern Economics. Springer, New York 2012, ISBN 978-1-4419-8336-7 , series: The European Heritage in Economics and the Social Sciences, 11th full text p. 567.
  6. ^ Karl Heinz Roth : Intelligence and Social Policy in the "Third Reich". A methodological-historical study using the example of the Ergonomic Institute of the German Labor Front. De Gruyter, Berlin 1993, ISBN 978-3-11-169050-6 , p. 225.
  7. ^ Senn, Scientific Contributions , p. 568.
  8. ^ Heinz Roth: Intelligence and Social Policy in the "Third Reich". A methodological-historical study using the example of the Ergonomic Institute of the German Labor Front. De Gruyter, Berlin 1993, ISBN 978-3-11-169050-6 , p. 37.