Prof. Dr. Martin Hellwig

E-mail: hellwig(at)
Phone: +49 228 91 41622
Room: 2.6
Location: Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Institute: Max Planck Institute for Collective Goods
Research Area: Research Area I
Date of birth: 05.Apr 1949

Academic Career


PhD in Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

1973 - 1974

Research Associate, Stanford University, CA, USA

1974 - 1977

Assistant Professor of Economics, Princeton University, NJ, USA

1977 - 1979

Associate Professor of Economics (H3), University of Bonn

1979 - 1987

Professor of Economics (H4/C4), University of Bonn

1987 - 1996

Professor of Economics, University of Basel, Switzerland

1995 - 1996

Taussig Research Professor, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

1996 - 2004

Professor of Economics, University of Mannheim

Since 2004

Director, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn

Since 2004

Professor of Economics, University of Bonn (Courtesy Appointment)

Research Profile

Work will continue on mechanism design foundations of public economics.
Current work focuses on the implications of requiring robustness of mechanisms, i.e., independence of implementation by a mechanism from the specification of belief systems, and of coalition proofness, in addition to individual incentive compatibility. In joint work with Felix Bierbrauer, currently in the second round with Econometrica, we show that these two requirements jointly limit the set of admissible mechanisms to the set of voting mechanisms, thus providing a mechanism theoretic foundation for voting.
In addition, work will be done on information acquisition and ''market discipline'' in financial contracting. The main problem here is to study disciplining mechanisms when there is coexistence of outside equity and (short-term) debt.

Research Projects and Activities

DFG Collaborative Research Center SFB/TR 15 “Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems”
since 2004

ESF Research Network Public Goods Public Projects, Externalities
Coordinator, 2006 - 2010

Contribution to Research Areas

Research Area I
Work has been done on mechanism design in allocation theory and contracting, public economics and financial economics.
The main objective of work on mechanism design in public economics is to provide a unified framework for public good provision, indirect taxation and public sector pricing and direct taxation.

Published articles:

“The Provision and Pricing of Excludable Public Goods: Ramsey-Boiteux Pricing versus Bundling”, Journal of Public Economics 91 (2007), 511 -540.

“The Undesirability of Randomized Income Taxation under Decreasing Risk Aversion”, Journal of Public Economics 91 (2007), 791 – 816.

“A Contribution to the Theory of Optimal Utilitarian Income Taxation”, Journal of Public Economics 91 (2007), 1449 – 1471.

[1], [2], [3].

“Informational Smallness and the Scope for Limiting Information Rents” (with A. Gizatulina), Journal of Economic Theory 145 (2010), 2260–2281.

Research on incentive contracting:

“The Role of Boundary Solutions in Principal-Agent Problems of the Holmström-Milgrom Type”, Journal of Economic Theory 136 (2007), 446 – 475.

“A Reconsideration of the Jensen-Meckling Model of Outside Finance”, Journal of Financial Intermediation 18 (2009), 495-525.


Selected Publications

[1] Martin F. Hellwig
Utilitarian mechanism design for an excludable public good
Econom. Theory , 44: (3): 361--397
[2] Martin F. Hellwig
A generalization of the Atkinson-Stiglitz (1976) theorem on the undesirability of nonuniform excise taxation
Econom. Lett. , 108: (2): 156--158
[3] Martin F. Hellwig
A note on Deaton's theorem on the undesirability of nonuniform excise taxation
Econom. Lett. , 105: (2): 186--188
[4] Martin F. Hellwig
Incentive problems with unidimensional hidden characteristics: a unified approach
Econometrica , 78: (4): 1201--1237
[5] M. F. Hellwig
A reconsideration of the Jensen-Meckling model of outside finance
J. Finan. Intermediation (18): 495-525
[6] M. F. Hellwig
Systemic risk in the financial sector: An analysis of the subprimemortgage financial crisis
De Economist (157): 129-207
[7] M. F. Hellwig
A contribution to the theory of optimal utilitarian income taxation
Journal of Public Economics (91): 1449-1477
[8] M. F. Hellwig
The provision and pricing of excludable public goods: Ramsey-Boiteux pricing versus bundling
Journal of Public Economics (91): 511-540
[9] Martin F. Hellwig
The role of boundary solutions in principal-agent problems of the Holmström-Milgrom type
J. Econom. Theory
136: (1): 446--475
[10] M. F. Hellwig
The undesirability of randomized income taxation under decreasing risk aversion
Journal of Economic Theory (91): 791-816

Publication List

MathSciNet Publication List (external link)

RePEc Publication List (external link)


• German Economic Review (Associate Editor, since 2000)
• European Business Organization Review (Advisory Board, since 2003)
• Journal of the European Economic Association (Advisory Board, since 2003)
• Journal of Public Economic Theory (Associate Editor, since 2005)
• Journal of Economics (Associate Editor, since 2005)
• Journal of Public Economics (Associate Editor, since 2007)



Fellow, Econometric Society


Honorary professor, Vienna University, Austria


Member, Academia Europaea


President, European Economic Association


Member, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences


Honorary foreign member, American Economic Association

2000 - 2004

President, Verein für Socialpolitik (German Economic Association)


Doctor rer. pol. honoris causa, University of Tübingen


Inaugural Fellow, European Corporate Governance Institute


Foreign honorary member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Doctor rer. pol. honoris causa, HU Berlin


Jelle Zijlstra Fellow, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study


Gustav Stolper Award, Verein für Socialpolitik (German Economic Association)


Doctor rer. pol. honoris causa, University of Basel, Switzerland


Award for the Most Significant Paper in 2009, Journal of Financial Intermediation

Selected Invited Lectures


Presidential Address, European Economic Association, Dublin, Ireland


Gaston Eyskens Lectures, Leuven Catholic University, Netherlands


Walras-Bowley Lecture, Econometric Society


Walras-Pareto Lectures, Lausanne University, Switzerland


Geneva Risk Lecture, European Group of Insurance Economists


Baffi Lecture, Banca d'Italia, Italy


Walter Adolf Jöhr Lecture, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland


Alfred Weber Lecture, University of Heidelberg


Johann Heinrich Thünen Lecture, Verein für Socialpolitik (German Economic Association)



London School of Economics, England, UK


FU Berlin


University of Munich


University of Bonn


Kiel Institute for World Economics and University of Kiel


Helmut Bester (1987), now Professor, FU Berlin

Wolfgang Leininger (1988), now Professor, TU Dortmund

Winand Emons (1992), now Professor, University of Bern, Switzerland

Tilman Börgers (1992), now Professor, University of Michigan, MI, USA

Hans Gersbach (1994), now Professor, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Thomas Gehrig (1995), now Professor, University of Vienna, Austria

E.-L. von Thadden (1995), now Professor, University of Mannheim

Peter-J. Jost (1995), now Professor, WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management, Koblenz-Vallendar

Christian Laux (2002), now Professor, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

Andreas Irmen (2002), now Professor, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Holger Müller (2003), now Professor, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, NY, USA

Elena Carletti (2007), now Professor, European University Institute, Florence, Italy

Selected PhD students

Dezsö Szalay (2001): “Essays on Financial Contracting, R&D, and Growth”,
now Professor, University of Bonn

Matthias Weiss (2003): “Labor Market Effects of Technological Change and Working Time Reduction: Some Insights from a General Equilibrium Perspective”,
now Professor, Regensburg University of Applied Sciences (OTH Regensburg)

Isabel Schnabel (2003): “Macroeconomic Risks and Financial Crises : A Historical Perspective”,
now Professor, University of Bonn, and Member of the German Council of Economic Experts (Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung)

Alexander Zimper (2003): “Contributions to the Theory of Solution Concepts for Strategic Games”,
now Professor, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Tri Vi Dang (2005): “Essays on Information Acquisition”,
now Lecturer, Columbia University, NY, USA

Felix Bierbrauer (2006): “Essays on Public Goods Provision and Income Taxation”,
now Professor, University of Cologne

Marc Schiffbauer (2008): “A contribution to the determinants of total factor productivity growth”,
now Senior Economist, World Bank

Sebastian Kranz (2008): “Essays on Moral Norms, Legal Unbundling and Franchise Systems”,
now Professor, University of Ulm

Alia Gizatulina (2009): “Essays in Mechanism Design”,
now Assistant Professor, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and Research Affiliate, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn

Philipp Weinschenk (2009): “Essays in microeconomics”,
now Professor, TU Kaiserslautern

Stefanie Brilon (2009): “Essays in Organization Theory and Personnel Economics”,
now Acting Chair (Professurvertretung), Philipp University of Marburg

Supervised Theses

  • Master theses: 3, currently 1
  • Diplom theses: 12
  • PhD theses: 12, currently 5
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