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Interdisciplinary Public Policy

Public institutions all over the world have numerous policy instruments – taxes, targeted investments, restrictions, regulations, incentive systems, governance rules etc. – at their disposal and in using these instruments, they fundamentally shape people’s lives every day and affect economic and social development.

However, many factors, such as globalization, digitalization, environmental degradation, cultural change, social polarization etc. affect the scope of action of these institutions, and policy challenges are becoming more complex every day, requiring the expertise from various different fields in order to find innovative solutions. The science of “Public Policy” is concerned with the role public institutions play for the functioning of our socioeconomic systems and the effective use of policy instruments. Policy instruments can only be effective if institutional designers assess their effect on human behavior adequately, given that the ultimate goal of many policies is to change behaviors. Thus, the design of effective institutions and policies requires not only an understanding of the relevant and often interdependent social, economic and political contexts and mechanisms, but also requires a profound understanding of how human beings make decisions – an understanding that is gained in the behavioral sciences.

In this interdisciplinary spirit, we have founded the Research Unit “Interdisciplinary Public Policy (IPP)” at JGU in 2014. It incorporates the disciplines of economics, business administration, computer science, political science, sociology, communication studies, psychology and medicine and emphasizes evidence-based policy research.