h o m e i d e a s p h. d   t r a i n i n g p e o p l e s e m i n a r s u m m e r e u r o p e a n  n e t w o r k  o n  i n e q u a l i t y n e w s
  H o m e





Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne

:: Overview
:: Research
:: Practical information

Cologne Am Heumarkt Cologne MPI
Downtown Cologne Cologne Kaethe Kollwitz' "Mourning Parents" (1953)


The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPI) is a state-funded research institute that carries out cutting-edge research in political and social science. Since recently, MPI also explores the social, institutional and cultural contexts of markets in addition to its other interesting research areas in industrial relations and welfare states, corporate governance, etc. MPI employs about 40 researchers, including senior and junior researchers and visiting scholars. The institute has links with the University of Cologne, the City of Cologne, the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia, and many international research institutes.

Scholars at MPI work in the following research areas:

  • Industrial Relations and Welfare States
  • Corporate Governance
  • Organized Interests
  • European Integration
  • Globalization
  • Democratic Government and Economic Governance
  • Science, Technology and Systems of innovation
  • Governance of Global Structures, and
  • Theories and Methods

(Sources: MPlfG Research Projects 2004 and MPI’s web site, August 2005)

For the latest information on MPI research activities, visit the research program page of the MPI web site


Research areas at a glance



Comparative and domestic institutional evolution

Jens Beckert, Patrick Aspert, Sabina Avdagic, Jürgen Beyer, Simone Burkhart, Colin Crouch, Jürgen Feick, Steffen Ganghof, Martin Höppner, Lothar Krempel, Philip Manow, Renate Mayntz, Guido Moellering, Geny Piotti, Britta Rehder, Fritz Scharpf, Susanne K. Schmidt, Wolfgang Streeck, Raymund Werle


Family structure

Colin Crouch

Historical evolution of inequality

Philip Manow, Wolfgang Streeck


Labor market inequality

Colin Crouch, Britta Rehder, Fritz Scharpf, Wolfgang Streeck , Christine Trampusch

Political and civic participation

Fritz Scharpf, Wolfgang Streeck, Christine Trampusch

Racial/ethnic disparities and race relations

Urban poverty and spatial segregation

MPI researchers

Jens Beckert, Director
Research areas: role of the economy in society, especially based on the study of markets; market-related behaviors; how new markets develop and internationalize; organizational sociology; sociology of inheritance; sociological theory

Patrick Aspers
Research areas: economic sociology, especially markets; sociological theory and ethnographic methods

Sabina AvdagicRoman Tower in Cologne
Research areas: comparative political economy,
economic sociology, neo-institutional analysis, comparative industrial relations

Jürgen Beyer
Research areas: economic sociology, sociology of organizations, comparative political economy, transition research

Simone Burkhart
Research areas: federalism, political economy, European integration

Colin Crouch
Research areas: structure of European societies, with special reference to labor market, gender and family issues; economic sociology and neo-institutional analysis

Jürgen Feick
Research areas: comparative research on policy and policy cultures; research on European policies; administration and organizations

Steffen Ganghof
Research areas: German politics, comparative politics, political economy and policy analysis, normative and empirical theories of democracy, philosophy and methodology of the social sciences

Martin Höppner
Research areas: Types of capitalism, political economy, comparative political science; industrial relations; corporate governance

Lothar Krempel Cologne's Cathedral
Research areas: network analysis; dynamic modeling; organizational interconnections; visualization of social structures

Philip Manow
Research areas: Research interests: comparative studies of the welfare state, political economy, patronage and political corruption, politics and religion, the nation state

Renate Mayntz
Research areas: sociological macro theory; comparative social and political research; organizational and administrative sociology; sociology of technology

Guido Möllering
Research areas: constitution of markets; collective institutional entrepreneurship; inter-organizational relationships; trust

Geny Piotti
Research areas: internationalization of markets, social capital, comparative industrial organization and restructuring processes, local economic development

Britta Rehder Inside Cologne Cathedral
Research areas: comparative industrial relations; unions and parties; institutional theory

Fritz W. Scharpf
Research areas
: organizational problems and decision-making processes in government; multi-level governance in Germany; political economy of inflation and unemployment in Western Europe; federalism and European integration; applications of game theory; comparative political economy of welfare states

Susanne K. Schmidt
Research areas: telecommunications policy, sociology of technology, European integration, comparative politics

Wolfgang Streeck
Research areas
: industrial relations; labor market policies; theories and practices of neo-corporatism

Christine Trampusch
Research areas: comparative labor market policy and social policy; theories of institutional change and political governance; methods of comparative analysis; corporatism

Raymund Werle
Research areas
: interaction of technological and institutional innovations; Internet evolution and development; Internet governance; political and social repercussions of the Internet


For information on statistical datasets, visit MPI library’s Source OECD Statistics.

Library access Cologne Guerzenich

Inequality Fellows will have borrowing rights at the MPI library.

Research seminars

MPI organizes a Monday seminar for doctoral students that meets on a weekly basis. MPI also organizes conferences and workshops several times per year. In September, MPI usually organizes a two-week long Summer School on a topical area or methods, to which international speakers are invited.

(Sources: Katherine Newman and Katrin Kriz’ site visit in October 2003, and MPI’s web site, August 2005)

Practical information

Cologne MPI's apartment Cologne MPI's apartment
Cologne MPI's apartment Cologne Bakery


MPI owns three apartments that it rents out to visiting researchers. The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment amounted to 400 to 500 euros in 2003. These apartments, which are located right next to MPI, need to be reserved six months in advance. The main source of practical information at MPI is Ms. Gabi Breunig at breunig@mpi-fg-koeln.mpg.de. The International Office at the University of Cologne also provides information on housing in Cologne. The cost of renting a studio apartment on the private housing market in Cologne was 300 to 400 euros per month in 2003.

Health insurance

The U.S. Department of State provides extensive information on health insurance for Americans traveling abroad.

Office space and computer access

Inequality Fellows will be able to get office space at MPI, including a computer and phone and Internet access.


The only month in which MPI does not offer seminars is August.


Visit the city of Cologne’s web site for information on local transportation. The monthly pass for public transportation in Cologne cost about 50 euros in 2003. The web site of Deutsche Bahn provides information on train connections and fares in Germany, including information on the so-called “Bahncard” discount card. For a list of low-cost airlines operating in Europe, visit http://www.discountairfares.com/lcosteur.htm . To print out a location on a map, go to http://www.mappy.com./

Visa information

For the latest information on visas and residency permits (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung”), visit the websites of the University of Cologne’s International Office, the U.S. Department of State and the German Embassy in Washington, DC. Ms. Breunig at MPI has the forms to apply for a residency permit and to register with the local registry office (“Einwohnermeldeamt”).

(Source: Katherine Newman and Katrin Kriz’ site visit in October 2003)

Practical information...>>


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