Prof. Dr. (em.) Martin Hellwig

E-Mail: hellwig(at)
Telefon: +49 228 91 41622
Raum: 1.15
Standort: Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Institute: Max Planck Institute for Collective Goods
Forschungsbereich: Research Area I

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

2004 -2017

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

2004 - 2017

Professor of Economics, University of Bonn (Courtesy Appointment)

Since 2017

Emeritus, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, and 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], [4].

“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] Alia Gizatulina, Martin Hellwig
The generic possibility of full surplus extraction in models with large type spaces
J. Econom. Theory , 170: : 385--416
[2] Felix J. Bierbrauer, Martin F. Hellwig
Robustly coalition-proof incentive mechanisms for public good provision are voting mechanisms and vice versa
Rev. Econ. Stud. , 83: (4): 1440--1464
[3] Alia Gizatulina, Martin Hellwig
Beliefs, payoffs, information: on the robustness of the BDP property in models with endogenous beliefs
J. Math. Econom. , 51: : 136--153
[4] Anat R. Admati, Peter M. DeMarzo, Martin Hellwig, Paul Pfleiderer
The Leverage Ratchet Effect
Journal of Finance, forthcoming
[5] Martin F. Hellwig
Incentive problems with unidimensional hidden characteristics: a unified approach
, 78: (4): 1201--1237
[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)


• Review of Economic Studies (European Editor, 1982 - 1986)
• Econometrica (Associate Editor, Co-Editor, 1984 - 1992)
• Journal of the European Economic Association (Advisory Board, since 2003)
• Journal of Public Economic Theory (Associate Editor, 2005 - 2010)
• 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


Max Planck Research Award


Economic Theory Fellow, Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory


Western Finance Association (WFA): Charles River Associates Award for


Ernst Hellmut Vits Prize, Universitätsgesellschaft Münster, November

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)


W.A. Mackintosh Lecture, Queen's University, Department of Economics, Kingston, Ontario, Canada



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

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

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

Gizatulina, Alia (2009): “Essys in Mechanism Design”,
now Assistant Professor, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

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

Schwerhoff, Gregor (2012): “Essays on Parental Leave, Global Disinflation and Non-Renewable Resources”,
now Researcher, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Berlin

Lang, Matthias (2012): “Contracting in the Presence of Uncertainty”,
now Junior Professor, School of Business and Economics, Microeconomics, Freie Universität Berlin

Behn, Markus (2014): “Five Essays on Bank Regulation”,
now Economist, European Central Bank, Macro-Financial Policies Division, Frankfurt/M.

Hansen, Emanuel (2014): “Essays in Public Economics”,
now Junior Professor, Center for Macroeconomic Research, University of Cologne

Luck, Stephan (2015): “Essays on Financial Stability”,
now Economist, Federal Reserve, Washington D.C., USA

Schempp, Paul (2015): “Essays on Financial Stability”,
now Junior Professor of Economics, University of Cologne
Download Profile