Institute for World Economy

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Institute for World Economy
at the University of Kiel
Institute for World Economy at the University of Kiel
Institute logo
Category: Affiliated institute
Carrier: none (legally independent SöR )
Membership: Leibniz Association
Facility location: Kiel
Type of research: Applied research
Subjects: Economics
Basic funding: Federal government (50%), states (50%)
Management: Gabriel Felbermayr
Employee: about 160
The institute with library extension (2005)

The Institute for World Economy at the University of Kiel (IfW) in Kiel is a center of global economic research. It is one of the six leading German economic research institutes that, as members of the Leibniz Association , are financed equally by the federal government and the community of the federal states. The IfW is an affiliated institute of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel and cooperates in particular with the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, but is legally and scientifically independent. Since January 1, 2007, the institute has been an independent foundation under public law of the State of Schleswig-Holstein . It employs around 160 people, including over 80 scientists. The Austrian Gabriel Felbermayr has been President of the institute since March 1, 2019 . He took over from Dennis J. Snower , who has headed the IfW since 2007 and is retiring.


Imperial Era and Weimar Republic

The institute was founded on February 18, 1914 as the Royal Institute for Shipping and World Economy at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel. The opening ceremony took place on February 20th in the institute building at Schloßgarten 14. In January 1919, the development company acquired the Krupp property “Seebadeanstalt” on the Kiel Fjord , which they moved into in the spring of 1920. After several changes, it has had its current name since around 1934.

As an independent part of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel (" An-Institut ") it had the task of scientific research into global economic relations, which was a novelty given the orientation towards the respective national economies at the time. The first director, Bernhard Harms , initiated the establishment of a research library, which from 1924 onwards was systematically led by the long-time director of the library, Wilhelm Gülich, to become the world's largest specialist library in the field of economics . In addition, Harms devoted himself to the publication of various magazines (Kiel Lectures, World Economic Archive and World Economic News) and the establishment of an economic archive . Right from the start, Harms attached great importance to the connection between research and practice as well as the communication to students. In the First World War , research into international relationships with national objectives led to the IfW focusing on the economic measures taken by Germany's opponents by setting up a war archive and expanding both financially and in terms of personnel. With intensive public relations work, Harms became one of the most active German economics professors in war propaganda.

In the Weimar Republic , the IfW gained a reputation beyond Kiel as a competent body for international economic issues. In addition, the goal pursued by the institute of investigating global economic relations in its entirety also explicitly included the consideration of related subjects such as law, political science and sociology. Harms was particularly open to sociology, which was still young, which is what numerous treatises in the “World Economic Archive” by authors such as B. Carl Brinkmann , Hans von Eckardt , Rudolf Heberle , Fritz Karl Mann , Franz Oppenheimer , Werner Sombart , Ferdinand Tönnies and Leopold von Wiese show. Furthermore, from 1921 Tönnies worked as a lecturer for sociology at the law and political science faculty, especially at the Institute for World Economy. The institute received an essential economic theoretical impetus in the field of business cycle theory and business cycle control through the establishment of the Department of Statistical World Economics and International Business Research (Astwik Department) in 1926, headed by Adolph Lowe together with colleagues such as Gerhard Colm , Hans Neisser , Jacob Marschak and Wassily Leontief published internationally acclaimed research results.

time of the nationalsocialism

Shortly after the National Socialists came to power , Jewish and Social Democratic employees were given immediate leave of absence due to the “ Law for the Restoration of Professional Civil Service ” (enacted on April 7, 1933) and had to leave the institute. This primarily affected the employees of the Astwik department, many of whom emigrated to the USA and established important chairs there. The “leave of absence” of the scientists took place partly with the active help of their own colleagues and enabled them to make decisive career leaps. In addition, new scientists came to the institute, a number of whom later actively participated in the German extermination policy (including Helmut Meinhold, Otto Ohlendorf ).

Bernhard Harms, who initially welcomed the Nazi takeover of power, initially remained director of the institute, briefly resisted the expulsion of the IfW's Jewish employees by the SA and gave up management in June due to massive pressure. Formally, he retained the professorship at the university, but in fact only worked as an honorary professor in Berlin until his death in 1939 . Harms' successor in September was the young, Nazi-minded Jens Jessen , who at the same time took over one of the professorships vacated by the Nazi purges . When Jessen was the victim of intrigue in disputes with other National Socialists, he had to give up the chairmanship in July 1934. He moved to Berlin via the University of Marburg , where he became a full professor at the Berlin Commercial College . Jessen was followed from July 1934 to November 1945 by Bernhard Harms' long-time employee, Andreas Predöhl . Predöhl became a member of the NSDAP in 1937 and under his leadership a stronger connection to the university followed, of which he was rector from 1942 to 1945. There was no “purge” of Jewish authors from the institute's library and foreign literature was purchased well into World War II. Under the direction of Predöhl, the Kiel expertises followed a practice-oriented folkish scientific concept, "which understood economics as a service to the 'national body'." (Petersen 2009, p. 67f). From 1939, the IfW attached central importance to the focus on the “greater area”. This was a conception that referred to the autonomy and self-sufficiency of Germany and was nothing less than "an economic foundation for a German-ruled Europe". (Petersen 2009, p. 69). By 1945 the institute had produced over 2,000 secret reports for the armed forces, ministries, major banks and industrial companies. Starting in 1942/43, the IfW assumed the leading role in all questions relating to international economics and was given a monopoly on all research work that was important to the war effort for the Field Economics Office, the former military and armaments office . The preparation of the reports followed both short-term due to current National Socialist expansion plans and longer-term plans for a "large-scale economy" in the areas still to be conquered and were thus part of the Nazi warfare. A comprehensive analysis of the institute's work between 1933 and 1945 is still pending. Towards the end of the war, the entire library inventory was relocated to Ratzeburg ( Duchy of Lauenburg district ) and thus escaped the air raids on Kiel that hit parts of the institute's buildings and the archive. In November 1945 the British occupation authorities deposed Predöhl as head of the institute, but left him as professor at Kiel University. In 1953 he moved to the University of Münster , where he died in 1974 at the age of 80.

Post-war until today

After the Second World War , Friedrich Hoffmann initially took over the management of the institute on a temporary basis, followed in 1948 by Fritz Baade (1893–1974), who primarily devoted himself to agricultural and nutritional research with a global economy. Under his leadership and thanks to his good contacts in the USA and other countries, the IfW was able to be brought back to the international research community and expand its role as an important center of world economic research with an extensive library and an economic archive.

In the early post-war period, all those responsible at the IfW promoted the view that the institute had committed itself to “non-political world economic research” under National Socialism. Accordingly, there was practically no self-criticism, let alone regret, about the actions of the institute towards the employees who were expelled in 1933. Harald Hagemann (Destruction, p. 334) calls the IfW's dealings with its expelled employees after 1945 “scandalous” and judges that the Institute suffered a “strange memory loss” after 1945. Accordingly, it can be judged that an institute's history that deals with its own past based on the latest research is still pending.

In 1961, Fritz Baade was succeeded by Erich Schneider (1900–1970) as director of the institute. As the leading post-war exponent of Keynesian theory in Germany and author of the multi-volume textbook bestseller “Introduction to Economics ”, he tied the institute more clearly than Fritz Baade to university research and teaching, with the result that many employees later became professors at German universities under his aegis occupied. In 1964, on the 50th anniversary of the IfW, he created the Bernhard Harms Prize . The former employee, later professor, advisor to US President Harry S. Truman and person responsible for the conception of the German currency reform of 1948, Gerhard Colm , was the first prize winner .

In 1969 Herbert Giersch (1921-2010) became director and later president of the IfW. During his time (until 1989) major global economic disruptions occurred (collapse of the Bretton Woods system , oil crises 1973/74 and 1979/80, rise of developing and emerging countries as suppliers of industrial goods), which from then on had a decisive influence on research and policy advice at the IfW . Giersch consolidated the role of the IfW in Germany's policy advisory landscape as the leading head of the Advisory Council for assessing macroeconomic developments . Controversies with politicians about adequate answers to global economic challenges did not fail to appear in the period that followed, as the institute made recommendations on important issues such as flexible exchange rates, monetary and employment policy or structural policy that official economic policy did not share. Under Giersch, the IfW set clear accents towards application-oriented global economic research, for example within the framework of the Collaborative Research Center 86 “World Economy and International Economic Relations”.

In 1989 Horst Siebert (1938–2009) replaced Giersch as President. Great upheavals also occurred in his time, such as the collapse of the socialist economies, German reunification, the rise of China to a world economic power, the great information technology innovations, but also the discussions about reforms in the labor market and the social systems and the sustainable use of environmental resources. Until he left the institute in 2003, Siebert was also a member of the Advisory Council and shaped the image of the institute in public with a large media presence and numerous publications on current economic policy issues. Under his aegis, the IfW strengthened its research expertise in environmental and resource economics as well as research on international financial markets. Siebert held the presidency until his retirement in 2003.

After a transition period of 18 months, which was characterized by difficulties in filling the presidential function, Dennis J. Snower (* 1950) took over the presidency of the IfW in October 2004 as the first non-German leading scientist from one of the leading research institutes. He implemented profound reforms in the internal organization, management and tasks of the IfW and introduced events such as the World Economic Prize and the Global Economic Symposium. Both stand for the institute's mission to be a competence center for research, political advice and training in socially pressing issues of the global economy and to find a balance between network and location.

The IfW is involved in the diagnosis of macroeconomic development and in the joint diagnosis of the leading German economic research institutes. The German Central Library for Economic Sciences (ZBW) belonged to the IfW, which was converted into an independent foundation under public law with effect from January 1, 2007 and at the same time integrated the library of the Hamburg World Economic Archive .


IfW Kiel publishes the refereed journal Review of World Economics , which was founded in 1913 under the name Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv . It is published once a quarter by Springer-Verlag and is specifically devoted to empirical studies on the world economy.

The magazine "Economics" appears exclusively electronically and free of charge. Articles are appraised not only by professional referees but also by registered readers.

The “Kiel Policy Brief” is published by the Economic Policy Center and publishes working papers in German and English.

Longer contributions to the discussion such as the Kiel subsidy report appear in the series “Kiel Contributions to Discussion” .

The series “Kiel Working Papers” publishes manuscripts in a preliminary version.

Articles devoted to policy advice have been published since 2008 in the series “Kiel Contributions to Economic Policy” .

The Public Relations Center publishes two series: Statements and essays can be found in the “IfW Focus” , while the “IfW Brief” publishes research results, IfW positions, current forecasts and the institute's dates. Both media are aimed at the public and are part of the institute's public relations work.

The series “Kiel Economic Policy Papers” and “Kiel Studies” are no longer published .

In the ranking for economic research institutes from the RePEc project , which is sorted by citations , the IfW was ranked 193rd (worldwide) in May 2013.

Events and activities

Cooperation with the Christian Albrecht University of Kiel

There are regular courses of the IfW within the framework of economics courses at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel . Furthermore, the IfW enables students to do their doctorate directly at the IfW. In addition, the IfW supports students with grants and further internships, training and research programs.

Summer School on Economic Policy

The IfW annually organizes the Kiel Institute Summer School on Economic Policy with international guest speakers.

Global Economic Symposium (GES)

In cooperation with the Central Library for Economics, the IfW organizes the annual The Global Economic Symposium . The Global Economic Symposium takes place alternately between Germany and abroad. The Global Economic Symposium first took place in Plön in 2008 . The venues of the Global Economic Symposium were Plön (2008, 2009), Istanbul (2010), Kiel (2011), Rio de Janeiro (2012), Kiel (2013) and Kuala Lumpur (2014). The venue for the eighth Global Economic Symposium 2015 is Kiel. Dennis J. Snower is the director of the Global Economic Symposium .

Further collaborations

In addition to Take-Maracke & Partner RA / StB / WP, the IfW works with the International Economic Senate (IWS) based in Berlin.

Awards and honors

The "World Economic Prize" is awarded annually during the Kiel Week to a politician, an economist and an entrepreneur. Guest of honor speakers included Federal President Joachim Gauck , Wolfgang Schäuble , Federal Minister of Finance and former Federal President. D. Horst Koehler . The World Economic Prize went to Jean-Claude Trichet , President of the European Central Bank (2011), Paul Krugman , Nobel Prize Winner, Princeton University (2010), Wendelin Wiedeking , Member of the Board of Ferdinand Porsche AG (2005).
The "Bernhard Harms Prize" is awarded in memory of the founder of the institute, Bernhard Harms , and is endowed with 25,000 euros. It is awarded every two years to a person who has distinguished himself through outstanding achievements in the field of global economic research.
The “IfW Excellence Award” is given to young scientists in global economic research. In addition to a scholarship, you will also receive intellectual and organizational support.
The “Take-Maracke Promotion Prize for Economics in Kiel” (in short: Take-Maracke-Prize) has been awarded since the 2006/2007 winter semester for outstanding seminar papers by economics and business administration students at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel. The founders are the Economic Club of the Institute for World Economy and the law firm Take-Maracke & Partner. The prize is endowed with € 1,000.
The "Bernhard Harms Medal" has been awarded at irregular intervals since 1980 to people who have made outstanding contributions to the Institute for World Economy and research in the tradition of Bernhard Harms . The last winners are Otmar Issing and Helmut Hesse , who received the award in 2004.
  • Honorary Senator of the Institute for the World Economy
The honorary senator of the Institute for World Economy is made up of people who have made outstanding contributions to improve the dialogue between economics, business, politics and administration. The title has so far only been awarded once in the summer of 2007 to Angelika Volquartz , Hans Driftmann and John Feldmann .


The following people are or were connected to the IfW in a special way.

Directors or Presidents of the Institute for the World Economy

More scientists


  • Working group ashes process: anti-fascist city tours. Kiel 1933-1945. Stations on the history of National Socialism in Kiel. Kiel 1998, p. 38 f.
  • Harald Czycholl: 100 years of the Institute for the World Economy . Wachholtz Verlag, Neumünster 2014 ISBN 978-3-529-06365-7 .
  • Christoph Dieckmann: Economic research for the greater area. On the theory and practice of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and the Hamburg World Economic Archive in the “Third Reich”. In: Models for a German Europe. Economy and rule in the greater economic area. Contributions to National Socialist Health and Social Policy, Vol. 10 (1992), pp. 146–198.
  • Hans-Georg Glaeßer: Christian Bernhard Cornelius Harms. In: Kiel CVs from six centuries. Edited by Hans F. Rothert . Neumünster 2006, pp. 123–126.
  • Harald Hagemann: Destruction of an innovative research center and gain in emigration. On the role of the “Kiel School” 1926–1933 and its impact in exile, in: ders. (Ed.) On German-speaking economic emigration after 1933, Marburg 1997.
  • Harald Hagemann: world class for seven years. The economic department of the Institute for World Economy 1926–1933, in: Christiana Albertina. Research and reports from the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, issue 67, November 2008, pp. 52–70.
  • Hochstätter: Karl Schiller - an economic-political biography. Saarbrücken 2008.
  • Fifty years at the Institute for World Economy at Kiel University. Speeches and speeches on the occasion of the ceremony on February 18, 1964 in the Stadttheater Kiel. Kiel 1964.
  • Torben Lütjen : Karl Schiller (1911–1994). "Super Minister" Willy Brandts. Bonn 2007.
  • Frank Omland: Institute for the World Economy. In: Kiel Lexicon. Kiel 2010 (forthcoming).
  • Hans-Christian Petersen: Expertise for practice. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy 1933 to 1945. In: Christoph Cornelißen / Carsten Mish (ed.), Science at the Border. The University of Kiel under National Socialism. Food 2009.
  • Rolf Seeliger: Brown University. German university yesterday and today. Munich 1968.
  • Gunnar Take: "Objectivity is guaranteed by its nature". Bernhard Harms' founding of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and his rise in the First World War. In: Democratic History 26, 2015, pp. 13–74.
  • Gunnar Take: Home fronts in the sights of science: economic experts, everyday life in the war and the totalization of the First World War, in: Christian Stachelbeck (Ed.): Materialschlachten 1916, event, meaning, memory , Paderborn 2017, pp. 361–376.
  • Gunnar Take: American support for German Economists after 1933: The Kiel Institute and the Kiel School in Exile, in: Social Research: An International Quarterly 84 (4), 2017, pp. 809–830.
  • Gunnar Take: "One of the bright spots in German economics". The funding of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy by the Rockefeller Foundation, 1925–1950, in: Yearbook for Economic History 59 (1), 2018, pp. 251–328.
  • Gunnar Take: Research for the Economic War. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy under National Socialism , De Gruyter Oldenbourg, Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-11-065457-8 .
  • Ralph Uhlig (Ed.): Expelled scientists from the Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel after 1933, Frankfurt am Main 1992.
  • Alexander Wierzock / Sebastian Klauke: The Institute for World Economy and Maritime Transport as a pioneer of political science from Kiel? , in: Wilhelm Knelangen / Tine Stein (ed.): Continuity and controversy. The history of political science in Kiel , Klartext, Essen 2013, ISBN 978-3-8375-0763-8 , pp. 293–323.
  • Anton Zottmann: Institute for World Economy at the University of Kiel 1914–1964, Kiel 1964.

Web links

Commons : Institute for the World Economy  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Gabriel Felbermayr takes over the IfW. In: Kiel News . February 28, 2019, accessed March 16, 2019 .
  2. a b Austrian Felbermayr will head Kiel IfW in future . Article dated September 10, 2018, accessed September 10, 2018.
  3. Gunnar Take: "Objectivity is guaranteed by its nature". Bernhard Harms' founding of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and his rise in the First World War. In: Democratic History 26, 2015, p. 17.
  4. Gunnar Take: Home Fronts in the Sight of Science: Economists, Everyday Warfare and the Totalization of the First World War . In: Christian Stachelbeck (ed.): Material battles 1916, event, meaning, memory . Schöningh, Paderborn 2017, p. 361-376 .
  5. Cf.: Wierzock, Alexander / Klauke, Sebastian /: The Institute for World Economy and Maritime Transport as a pioneer of a political science from Kiel? , in: Wilhelm Knelangen / Tine Stein (ed.): Continuity and controversy. The history of political science in Kiel , Essen 2013, pp. 293–323, here p. 297f.
  6. ^ Review of World Economics. World Economic Archive., accessed on June 22, 2013 .
  7. a b c d e f publications., accessed on June 22, 2013 .
  8. IfW brief., accessed on June 22, 2013 .
  9. Top 10% Economic Institutions, as of May 2013. , accessed on June 22, 2013 (English, economic research institute ranking from IDEAS / RePEc).
  10. ^ The GES team., accessed on June 13, 2013 .
  11. a b Prizes and awards., accessed on June 13, 2013 .
  12. Bernhard Harms Prize. (No longer available online.), archived from the original on June 14, 2013 ; Retrieved June 13, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. ^ Take Maracke Prize., accessed on June 13, 2013 .
  14. ^ Bernhard Harms Medal. (No longer available online.), archived from the original on April 13, 2014 ; Retrieved June 13, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. Honorary Senators. (No longer available online.), archived from the original on June 8, 2013 ; Retrieved June 13, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Coordinates: 54 ° 20 ′ 19.9 ″  N , 10 ° 9 ′ 22.4 ″  E