Doctoral Researchers in Behavioral Economics (f/m/div)
Advertiser: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law
Field(s) of specialization: Behavioral Economics
Position type(s): Research Assistant, Doctoral fellow
Location of job: Günterstalstraße 73, Freiburg im Breisgau, Bavaria, 79100, Germany
Degree required: Masters
Job start date: 2023-10-01
Job duration: 4 years
Application deadline: 28 May 2023 midnight UTC (no longer accepting applications)
Current search status: Reviewing applications
Posting end date: 29 May 2023
Ad text:

The Department of Criminology at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law in Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany) is seeking applications for two

Doctoral Researchers

in Behavioral Economics (f/m/div)

The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law (MPI-CSL) is a recently established European center for research in criminology, public security matters, and criminal law. The Institute is part of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science – Germany’s flagship science organization. Its Department of Criminology offers a highly interdisciplinary and dynamic research environment in which psychologists, sociologists, economists, mathematicians, criminologists, and computer scientists work together to understand the causes and consequences of criminal behavior and to develop effective interventions for the prevention of crime and the facilitation of offender rehabilitation. The department pushes the boundaries of crime research through the application of innovative methods, developmental theories of crime, and real-world application.

The Institute, with its approximately 150 employees, is located in Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), a dynamic university city with a 900-year history. The city in the trinational border region (Germany, Switzerland, and France) impresses newcomers with its high quality of life and international flair. Freiburg ranks third on Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2022” list of the top ten city destinations in the world.


The two positions are embedded in the project “MANUNKIND: Determinants and Dynamics of Collaborative Exploitation” headed by Dr. Dr. Hannes Rusch and supported by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant; see The project aims to develop a versatile game theoretic framework and corresponding new paradigms for behavioral experiments to advance the multidisciplinary study of exploitative behavior. The research in this project will help to inform policy makers on how to end modern-day slavery and other contemporary forms of exploitation – in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 8.

The doctoral researchers will be part of a newly established Independent Research Group led by Dr. Dr. Hannes Rusch. The group leverages its expertise in behavioral economic methodologies, especially formal modelling, experimental economics, and applied microeconomics, to study topics of interdisciplinary relevance, for example: discrimination, exploitation, violence, conflict, and the economic analysis of criminal and public law. This young and highly dedicated research team strives to conduct cutting-edge, theory-driven, and transparent research in compliance with the standards of Open Science.

Your Profile

For position 1 (‘theoretical focus’):

  • you have completed (or are close to completing) your university degree (master’s or equivalent) in economics, econometrics, mathematics, or a related quantitative science;
  • you have experience with game theory and/or dynamic modelling.

For position 2 (‘behavioral focus’):

  • you have completed (or are close to completing) your university degree (master’s or equivalent) in behavioral economics, psychology, cognitive science, or a related field in the behavioral sciences;
  • you have experience in conducting online surveys and experiments and in the respective methods of statistical analysis.

For both positions:

  • experience with agent-based simulation modelling is a plus;
  • you have a strong interest in behavioral economics and studying human decision-making using theory-based approaches;
  • you are eager to further develop your statistical and methodological skills;
  • you are an experienced user of R and/or Python;
  • you have excellent written and spoken English language skills;
  • you are a team player;
  • you are committed to Open Science and transparent research practices.

Our Offer

Our Institute offers unrivalled conditions for doctoral studies, including access to top-notch laboratory facilities (including a fully equipped Virtual Reality lab), exceptional specialist libraries and data­bases, excellent workspaces, and comprehensive administrative and academic support. Colla­boration with other doctoral researchers, postdocs, and international partners at the Institute is a key element of our research. Additionally, there are many opportunities for our researchers to participate in workshops, seminars, and conferences.

The doctoral positions are available from October 1, 2023. Based on mutual agreement, a somewhat later start date is also possible. The positions are limited to four years and they are fully funded research positions with no teaching obligations. The positions are full-time (currently 39 hours/week). Remuneration and social benefits are based on the German Civil Service Collective Agreement (TVöD Bund), pay category 13, 65% (see The salary inclu­des all mandatory social insurance contributions for health care, long-term care, unemployment, and retirement. The workplace is Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany). We are committed to ensuring a positive work-life balance and offer flexible work options, including remote work, as well as generous opportunities for personal and professional development, including free in-house German language cour­ses.

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer and supports diversity in the workplace. Applications from disabled persons are welcome. We also aim to increase the percentage of female staff in fields in which they are underrepresented and therefore expressly encourage women to apply. Applications are particularly welcome from persons with backgrounds that have so far been underrepresented in science and research with regard to gender, age, professional and cultural background, family situation, sexual orientation, and nationality.

Information and Application

To apply, please submit your application with the following documents:

  1. a motivation letter (max. one page), clearly indicating which of the two positions you prefer and including an explanation as to how your interests and profile match the project goals and selection criteria;
  2. name and email address of at least one scholar who has agreed to provide a reference for you;
  3. your CV, including a list of publications (if any, either as first author or co-author);
  4. a writing sample, e.g., your master’s thesis, a seminar paper, a first-authored journal article, etc.;
  5. study certificates and transcripts of records.

Please submit the application via our online application portal.

The deadline for applications is 28 May, 2023.

For further information, please contact Dr. Dr. Hannes Rusch ( or Dr. Annika Hampel, Recruitment Officer (

For further information about our Institute, visit our website at:

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