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Seminar "Social Contract Lab SS 2016"

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Prof. Dr. Bernhard Neumärker

Institut für Allgemeine Wirtschaftsforschung
Abteilung für Wirtschaftspolitik und Ordnungstheorie




The current political Basic Income movements in Switzerland and Finland show the outstanding importance of the Basic Income conception for modernizing and reforming the welfare stateSoCoLab 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 co-workers. 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 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


14:00 - 16:00

HS 2330
Introductory Session


9:00 - 16:00

HS 2330
3 Two Hour Sessions on Social Contract and Basic Income Theories


9:00- 16:00

Alte Uni  01 042
3 Two Hour Sessions on Experimental Logic and Design and its 
Application to Social Contracting on Basic Income


9:00- 16:00

HS 1140
2 Three Hour Experimental Sessions


9:00 – 16:00

Alte Uni  01 042
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 Basic Income and Social Justice" 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.


The registration period begins on 09.02.2016 and students are requested to send an e-mail to “matthew.bonick@vwl.uni-freiburg.de” before 00:00 on 05.04.2016.  The seminar is on a first come first serve basis.  In the email please send: surname, name, matriculation code, course of study and semester.

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