Research Center "Empirical Economics and Econometrics" (EmpEc)

This overview page is to inform you about the general profile, the organisation and the history of the research center. Information on current activities is best obtained from the quicklinks to its four "working areas" and the current research seminar.






The Research Center "Empirical Economics and Econometrics" (operative as such from Jan 1, 2010) developed form the FSP (Research Focus Area) "International Economics" (on that, see below), already established in 2004. Prof. Michael Pfaffermayr (Department of Economic Theory, Policy and History) has served as its spokesperson from the very beginning.

The newly developed acronym EmpEc represents both parts of its title, EMPirical Economics as well as EConometrics, both of equal importance.

The profile of the Center was sharpened during the last few years to reflect recent developments with regard to funding and personnel (including the new professorships of Stefan Lang and Jesus Crespo-Cuaresma) as well as reforms of the research architecture at the University of Innsbruck. The respective structural changes became effective in 2009 and 2010.

  • In 2007 the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) approved a national research network "The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State" (NFN), located in Linz/Austria and headed by Prof. Rudolf Winter-Ebmer. The University of Innsbruck is part of the network through two subprojects: "Health Economics" and "Empirical Finance". In addition, two heads of subprojects elsewhere in Austria are ranked first for professorships at the University of Innsbruck. The focus of the NFN lies in the empirical evaluation of economic and political measures concerning the welfare state and the labor market. Both the NFN and IE apply similar research methods and there is also a strong integration of personnel with members of IE contributing to the NFN (Rupert Sausgruber, Engelbert Theurl and Hannes Winner).
  • In 2005 the research field "Economic and Social History" was established at the Faculty of Economics and Statistics. Since then some members of IE have cooperated successfully with this research field gaining them recognition in the media. The Cooperation comprises both research in the form of common workshops and publications as well as lecturing. Since further spill-overs are to be expected from closer cooperation, the research field was integrated into the larger group.
  • Finally (and strictly formal), in 2009 the University of Innsbruck decided to rename all former FSPs ("research focus areas") into "research centers".

At the same time it was decided to rename the former FSP "International Economics" into "Empirical Economics and Econometrics", now a research center of the University of Innsbruck, to better reflect the methodological focus of future activities. The Center aims at discussing economic issues empirically, including their historical background, and developing statistical and econometric methods for this purpose. Consequently, the Center consists of four "working areas": International Economics (IE), Spatio-Temporal Modelling (STM), The Economics of the Welfare State (EWS), and The History of Globalization (HG).

Within the four working areas there is close co-operation between the members concerning both teaching and research activities as well as publications, which is to be deepened and extended in the future. This will lead to further co-authorships, common workshops and applications for externally funded projects. Further information on the specific profile and the activities of the working areas is provided on their respective homepages.

The Research Center "Empirical Economics and Econometrics" is also part of the Research Platform "Empirical and Experimental Economics" of the University of Innsbruck.


History and objectives of "EmpEc" (formerly IE)

The predecessor of the Research Center "Empirical Economics and Econometrics" was the FSP "International Economics", which was established at the Faculty of Economics and Statistics in 2004. Its head was Prof. Dr. Michael Pfaffermayr. The core of the research activities of the FSP were three projects running from 2003 to 2008, which were funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), particularly ITAX - The Empirical Economics of International Taxation. These projects focused on selected issues of international economic relations and were headed by Rupert Sausgruber, Engelbert Theurl and Hannes Winner (all Department of Public Finance).

The objectives of the FSP were (i) to establish a research network, (ii) participate in international workshops and congresses and (iii) publish research findings in leading international journals. The FSP was very successful in implementing these goals which is proved by the following indicators:

  • more than 60 publications in refereed journals, one of which even in "Science";
  • listings and calls to foreign universities for members of the FSP;
  • the promotion of junior scientists within the FSP and their engagement in related research projects, including their appointment at renowned research institutes and universities (including Oxford University and the WIFO in Vienna);
  • numerous presentations at international conferences;
  • cooperation with important economic policy makers (World Bank, Austrian National Bank, ...);
  • the establishment of an external research seminar serving as a platform for national and international scientific exchange and of an internal seminar for promoting young academics;
  • the invitation of several of its members to contribute to renowned international research networks (including the Universities of Copenhagen, Munich and Oxford);
  • the Organisation of lectures and seminars of internationally renowend scholars in Innsbruck to train the junior scientists in methods applied in the FSP (e.g. scholars from the Universities of Amsterdam, Groningen, Maryland, Nevada, Syracuse and Zurich);
  • joint publications with external lecturers in leading international journals;
  • successful fund-raising for follow-up projects (particularly FWF and OeNB).

To summarize, the FSP has established itself in the scientific community. Its members are internationally well recognized. Extensive lecturing and refereeing as well as media coverage are clear indications of these achievements. Consequently, the on-going restructuring of the FSP will neither affect its objectives nor its future results, but recent developments are a logical continuation and extension of earlier activities.

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