Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

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Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne.
Category: research Institute
Carrier: Max Planck Society
Legal form of the carrier: Registered association
Seat of the wearer: Munich
Facility location: Paulstrasse 3, Cologne
Type of research: Basic research
Subjects: Social sciences
Basic funding: Federal government (50%), states (50%)
Management: since October 1, 2017 Lucio Baccaro; managing director Jens Beckert
Employee: approx. 60

The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) is a research institution for the social sciences in Cologne . It conducts application-free basic research with the aim of developing an empirically sound theory of the social and political foundations of modern economic systems. The focus is on the investigation of the connections between economic, social and political action. A predominantly institutional approach is used to research how markets and economic organizations are embedded in historical-institutional, political and cultural contexts, how they arise and how their social contexts change. The institute wants to build a bridge between theory and politics.


The directors at the MPIfG decide on the institute's research program. You are free and independent in the selection and implementation of your research projects within a framework set by the Max Planck Society (MPG). Between fifty and sixty sociologists, political scientists, economists and historians work together at the MPIfG. As research assistants, doctoral students, scholarship holders, visiting researchers and project staff, they often work in international research teams. The MPIfG does not conduct contract research .

In the International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy (IMPRS-SPCE), the MPIfG offers a research environment for qualified postgraduates. The IMPRS-SPCE is an international doctoral school jointly supported by the MPIfG and the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Cologne . It is the first graduate program in the field of economic sociology and political economy in Germany.

The MPIfG is part of a worldwide network of research institutions and scientists in the social sciences. It maintains close collaborative relationships with a number of institutes with similar research focuses. The close collaboration with the Parisian Grande école Sciences Po led to the joint establishment of the Max Planck Sciences Po Center on Coping with Instability in Market Societies (MaxPo) in 2012. Here, the effects of increasing liberalization, technical progress and cultural changes on modern societies of Western style are researched.

An advisory board reviews the institute's research every three years. A board of trustees with representatives from politics, business, associations and the media promotes the connection to the public interested in the research of the MPIfG and advises the institute management in this regard. The statutes of the MPI for Social Research are available online.


The institute publishes three series of publications, the majority of which are freely available:

  • MPIfG books are monographs that are aimed at a broad specialist audience.
  • MPIfG Discussion Papers are essays from ongoing projects or by visiting scholars, which are usually later published in specialist journals.
  • In the MPIfG Journal Articles series, articles by employees appear online that were previously published in scientific journals with a peer-review process.

The MPIfG yearbook, which appears every two years, and the biannual newsletter Society Research give a broader audience an insight into the research work of the institute.

Numbers and dates

The MPIfG was founded in 1985 under the direction of sociologist Renate Mayntz . In 1986 Fritz W. Scharpf , who was director at the Social Research Center in Berlin from 1973 to 1984 , was appointed second director at the MPIfG. In 2003 he retired. In 1995 Wolfgang Streeck was appointed to the board of directors as the successor to the founding director, after working under Scharpf from 1976 to 1988, first at the "International Institute of Management" and later in the research focus on labor market policy. In 2014 Wolfgang Streeck retired. Jens Beckert succeeded Fritz W. Scharpf in 2005. With this appointment, the MPIfG set new accents in the field of sociological research on the economy. In 2017, Lucio Baccaro succeeded Wolfgang Streeck on the board of directors. External scientific members of the MPIfG are Colin Crouch and Kathleen Thelen. The MPIfG is one of around 80 research institutions of the Max Planck Society that conducts basic research primarily in the natural sciences, but also in the humanities and social sciences. The annual budget of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies is currently 4.6 million euros (2013).

The institute has permanent positions for scientific and non-scientific employees as well as funding for around 20 doctoral and postdoctoral students. Other positions are financed through special programs of the federal government, the EU and other project sponsors and through project funds. The institute has its own library , the catalog of which is available online for research.

Journalist in Residence

Since 2006 the institute has had a fellowship for a "Journalist in Residence". The length of stay varies between six weeks and three months. Since 2006, more than 25 journalists have been "journalists in residence" at the institute.


  • Ariane Leendertz: The pragmatic turn. The Max Planck Society and the Social Sciences 1975–1985. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2010. ISBN 978-3-525-36788-9 . [1] (summary) (PDF; 82 kB)
  • Jens Beckert, Wolfgang Streeck: The German social sciences and the establishment of the Max Planck Institute for Social Research. Ariane Leendertz, Reimar Lüst and Franz-Xaver Kaufmann on the signatures of a time of upheaval. MPIfG Working Paper 10/1. Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne 2010. Download

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Research program of the MPIfG
  2. ^ Cooperation relationships of the MPIfG
  3. Advisory Board of the MPIfG
  4. Board of Trustees of the MPIfG
  5. see statutes of the MPI for Social Research from November 23, 2012
  6. ^ MPIfG books
  7. ^ MPIfG Discussion Papers
  8. ^ MPIfG Journal Articles
  9. ^ MPIfG yearbook
  10. Social Research Newsletter
  11. Kathleen Thelen ( Memento of the original from March 29, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) 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 /
  12. ^ Library of the MPIfG
  13. Online catalog of the MPIfG
  14. see page about the program at , further data (previous fellows, number) on further subpages.

Coordinates: 50 ° 55 ′ 36.1 ″  N , 6 ° 57 ′ 15 ″  E