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Topics in the Economics of Social Justice: Social Contract Lab

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Neumärker

Institut für Allgemeine Wirtschaftsforschung
Abteilung für Wirtschaftspolitik und Ordnungstheorie



SoCoLab seminar, winner of a University teaching award 2012, deviates from a usual seminar setting. The students after reading the necessary papers and finish the required assignments will be welcomed during class to participate and discuss the elements of the theories and their ideas with Prof. Neumärker and his coworkers. The seminar consists of an introduction, 3 blocked meetings and a day of experiment with student participation. In the first sessions, the theoretical foundations are laid, and after the experiment follow 2 sessions with critical discussion. The participation in all the classes is obligatory in order to achieve maximum participation and understanding of the subjects. After the classes and the experiment are over, students are given a sufficient amount of time to write a paper on the topic. In the paper, the students are expected to critically reflect on one of the issues/aspects tackled in the seminar. The paper formalities and more specific information on the content of the text will be provided to all participants.
The overall grade is the weighted as a sum of all three elements of the seminar with the following weights: Seminar Paper: 40%, Assignments: 40%, Class Participation: 20%. Students will receive 6 ECTS credit points upon successful completion of the seminar. The Seminar can be recognized as “Topics in the Economics of Social Justice” for students enrolled in the “M.Sc. Economics” or “M.Sc. VWL” program.


The first part of the seminar comprises the theoretical foundations, which contains two subareas: (1) sessions on social contract and basic income approaches and (2) sessions on experimental logic and design and its application to social basic income contracting. The second part of the seminar will be the experimental sessions and the seminar will conclude with feedback sessions on the application and outcomes of the theories and experiments.

Time & Place
Tuesday April 23
(KG II, Room 2330)
Introductory Session
Friday May 10
(KG II, Room 2330)
3 Two Hour Sessions on Social Contract and Basic Income Theories
Friday June 7
(Wilhelmstr. 26, Room 06)
3 Two Hour Sessions on Experimental Logic and Design and its
Application to Social Contracting on Basic Income
Friday June 21
(Wilhelmstr. 26, Room 06)
2 Three Hour Experimental Sessions
Friday June 28
(Wilhelmstr. 26, Room 06)
2 Two Hour Feedback Sessions on Critical Discussion of the Theoretical
Underpinnings and Experimental Outcomes



Organisational Issues





  • The literature is provided on ILIAS.


Recognition (6 ECTS):

  • M.Sc. Economics: "Topics in the Economics of Social Justice: Social Contract Lab" or 2nd year seminar.
  • M.Sc. VWL: "Wirtschaftspolitik/Ordnungspolitik"
  • Diploma students: „Wirtschaftspolitik/Ordnungspolitik“ or "Wettbewerbs- und Ordnungspolitik".
  • Applications by students of other faculties and institutes are welcome, but you should arrange recognition of the course with your home faculty beforehand.


This module is entirely taught in English.

Registration (Deadline March 31st, 2013):

For registration, students are requested to send an e-mail to martha.kontodaimon AT vwl.uni-freiburg.de no later than March 31st, 2013. The mail must include a 300 to 500 words statement of motivation to be attached as pdf file. Additionally needed information: surname, name, matriculation code, course of study, semester.

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