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Writing a Final Thesis

We offer the opportunity to write Bachelor or Master theses. However, please note that most of our topics (and the guidelines below) are primarily intended for Master theses.

Pre-Requisites

For a Master thesis, we require that you have successfully completed the modules Microeconomics II (Game Theory) and Behavioral Economics. Ideally, you should also have chosen “Design and Behavior” as one of your specialization fields in the M.Sc. program. This ensures a certain level of background knowledge to facilitate your understanding of the literature. In addition, you get an idea of the research areas we are working in and are interested in supervising theses.

Finding a Topic

As a general rule for Master theses, we do not have a list of pre-specified topics that are assigned to students. Rather, we expect students to have a rough idea about a topic that they are interested in before contacting us. You do not need to have a fully worked-out proposal but when contacting us you should have some idea of what you would like to work on. To ensure effective supervision the topic should (at least somewhat) relate to the field of Behavioral Economics. For more information, you can find below the research interests of the chair members who supervise theses, as well as topics of Master theses supervised in recent years.

If you are interested in writing a thesis at our chair, please contact one of the researchers below and make an appointment for an introductory meeting. Please outline in a few sentences your planned topic and also attach a copy of your current grade transcript. If there are capacities for supervision at the chair, we will then develop a more specific proposal together. We typically require that before the thesis is registered with the examination office, you hand in a short (approx. 2 pages) proposal, describing your research question and sketching out the way you intend to answer it, i.e., the methods.

The Thesis

Generally, your final thesis should prove your ability to work on a research question independently and with scientific rigor. Further, we encourage you to write your theses in a concise way, i.e., in the form of a scientific paper. Papers are usually shorter than classical theses and focus on the research question as specifically as possible.

Theses can be theoretical or empirical. In both cases we expect there to be some original contribution from you, rather than just a summary of the existing literature. This can be in the form of a re-analysis of an existing data set, an extension of an existing theoretical model, applying a theoretical model to a new question, etc. In certain cases, there is also the possibility to apply for grants that would allow you to collect data yourself, i.e. by running a laboratory experiment

You can write your thesis either in English or in German, though we strongly encourage you to consider writing in English as in all likelihood the vast majority of the literature relevant to your topic will be in English anyway. You can find further information on how to structure and write a scientific paper below.

[Paper Guidelines]

Team Members Supervising Theses and their Research Interests

Thomas Lauer

  • Leadership and Cooperation
  • Incentives and Organizational Structures
  • Asymmetric Information Conditions and their Effects on Effort and Performance
  • Belief Formation and Intention-based Preferences
  • Sustainable Behavior and Intergenerational Social Dilemmas
  • Time Preferences and Intertemporal Decision Making

Lukas Wenner

  • Motivated Beliefs, Information Avoidance
  • Elicitation of Time and Social Preferences
  • Reference-Dependent Preferences
  • Behavioral Biases of Consumers and their Implications for Markets and Competition
  • Limited Strategic Reasoning in Markets
  • Social Responsibility and Moral Behavior in Markets

Recent Theses

How Behavioral Economics Can Impact Savings Behavior: An Outlook for Private and Occupational Pension Systems in Germany.

Leading by Lying: The Effect of Managed Feedback on Cooperation.

Leadership: Sanctions, Cooperation and Happiness.

The Influence of Leadership Styles on Social Norms and Cooperation in Organizations.

How incentive schemes affect trade-offs between quality and quantity in workers' effort.

Procrastination: Future Discounting and Time-Inconsistent Learning Behavior.

Two-sided Platforms: Economic Modelling of Pricing and Competition in Internet Markets.

Pricing Strategies of Supply Chain Retailers.