Prof. Dr. Pia Pinger

Junior Professor

E-Mail: pinger(at)
Telefon: +49 228 73 9206
Standort: Lennéstr. 43
Institute: Department of Economics

Academic Career


Master in International Economic Studies, Maastricht University, Netherlands

2006 - 2007

Advanced Studies Program in International Economic Policy Research, Kiel Institute for the World Economy

2006 - 2007

Research Assistant, Kiel Institute for the World Economy


Research Assistant, James Heckman, University of Chicago, IL, USA

2008 - 2013

Researcher, Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim


Visiting Scholar, University of Chicago, IL, USA

2009 - 2013

Researcher, Professor Gerard van den Berg, University of Mannheim

2010 - 2015

IZA Research Affiliate, Bonn


Visiting Scholar, University of Chicago, IL, USA


PhD in Economics (summa cum laude), University of Mannheim

Since 2013

Junior Professor, Department of Economics, University of Bonn

Since 2014

HCEO Emerging Scholar (Becker Friedman Institute, University of Chicago and INET)

Since 2015

IZA Research Fellow, Bonn

Since 2016

briq Research Associate, Bonn

Research Profile

The main focus of Pia Pinger’s research lies on the formation of human capital within and across generations and its implications for socio-economic inequality. In particular, she is interested in how individuals and parents make human capital investment decisions and to what extent their decision-making is influenced by personality traits, expectations, economic preferences, and constraints. In this respect, her work relates to the emerging field of behavioral economics of education. In terms of methodology, she has strong interests in developing and applying microeconometric techniques to solve problems that are common obstacles in research on human capital formation, such as endogeneity, recall bias, or the imperfect measurement of traits, preferences, and expectations.

In the future Pia Pinger is planning to work on the role of labor market expectations on educational and occupational decision-making and on the importance of mentoring programs to remediate intergenerational inequalities. First, to examine labor market expectations at different points of the life cycle she has recently engaged in an extensive data collection effort. Specifically, she has elicited expected future wages at three time points over the life cycle (first salary, age 40, age 55) and for different scenarios among a sample of over 15,000 students (almost 1\% of the German student population) in two waves (>30,000 students in total). Using these data, she investigates how labor market expectations relate to occupational choice.
Second, regarding the role of mentoring to remediate intergenerational inequalities, she investigates the impact of a mentoring program. As part of the intervention, the life circumstances of elementary school children and their families were experimentally varied. The sample consists of more than 700 families in the metropolitan area Cologne/Bonn. Using these data, Pia Pinger shows that a low-cost low-intensity mentoring program can boost child education outcomes by altering the parental decision-making process. The intervention closes around 1/3 of the gap in education outcomes between high and low SES children and the effect is particularly pronounced among children who grow up in poverty. Using advanced mediation analyses, Pia Pinger is currently in the process of investigating the channels through which the program operated.

Research Projects and Activities

DFG Collaborative Research Center SFB/TR 224 “Economic Perspectives on Societal Challenges: Equality of Opportunity, Market Regulation, and Financial Stability”,
Project leader of the project “Family decision-making and investments”

Selected Publications

[1] David Carslake, Pia R Pinger, George Davey Smith, PÃ¥l Romundstad
Early-onset Paternal Smoking and Offspring Adiposity: Further Investigation of a Potential Intergenerational Effect Using the HUNT Study
PLOS ONE , 11: (12): e0166952
Publisher: Public Library of Science
[2] Gerard J Berg, Pia R Pinger
Transgenerational Effects of Childhood Conditions on Third Generation Health and Education Outcomes
Economics and Human Biology , 23: : 103--120
[3] Gerard J. van den Berg, Pia R. Pinger, Johannes Schoch
Instrumental Variable Estimation of the Causal Effect of Hunger Early in Life on Health Later in Life
The Economic Journal , 126: (591): 465--506
Publisher: Wiley Online Library
DOI: 10.1111/ecoj.12250
[4] Rémi Piatek, Pia Pinger
Maintaining (Locus of) Control? Data Combination for the Identification and Inference of Factor Structure Models
Journal of Applied Econometrics , 31: (4): 734--755
Publisher: Wiley Online Library
DOI: 10.1002/jae.2456
[5] Pia Pinger, Isabel Ruhmer-Krell, Heiner Schumacher
The compromise effect in action: Lessons from a restaurant's menu
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization , 128: : 14--34
Publisher: Elsevier
[6] Pia Pinger
Come Back or Stay? Spend Here or There? Return and Remittances: The Case of Moldova
International Migration , 48: (5): 142--173
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2435.2009.00562.x

Publication List

RePEc Publication List (external link)



Karin Islinger Dissertation Award


Dissertation Prize “The Future of Labor”, awarded by the ZEW/Volksbank Weinheim Foundation


Prize for the best dissertation in the field of education economics 2013/2014 awarded by the German education committee (Bildungsökonomischer Ausschuss, Verein für Socialpolitik)


Excellence in teaching award (for health economics, bachelor)

2015 - 2017

Swedish Research Council, grant no. 2014-2448, with Gerard van den Berg, Bitte Modin and Denny Vågerö

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