Honorable Doctor Lecture with Professor Ernst Fehr

The Human Quest for Fairness and Equality

The Lecture is held in connection with Professor Ernst Fehr's appointment to Honorary doctorate at the University of Copenhagen on 24 November 2022.

There will be a reception after the lecture.

Register here

Ernst Fehr

Dr. Fehr’s groundbreaking research on human altruism has challenged the notion that self-interest is the core motivator in economic behavior. Dr. Fehr was one of the first to provide convincing experimental evidence that economic choices could be motivated by factors beyond self-interest, pointing to altruism, fairness, reciprocity, and bounded rationality.

Drawing on game theory and social psychology, Dr. Fehr’s work has revealed an “economics of reciprocity,” indicating that individuals are more likely to contribute to a common goal when others are contributing, regardless of whether the goal is most beneficial to the individual. His findings have helped explain patterns in human cooperation for which traditional economics research could not account.

Dr. Fehr’s work is motivated by the belief that understanding the interaction between altruists and selfish individuals is crucial for determining patterns of human cooperation. He has applied his research model to various aspects of economics, exploring ways altruism affects not only economic choices, but also aspects of social economics such as minimum wage laws.

His most recent research has focused on the role of boundedly rational behavior in strategic interactions as well as on the neurobiological foundations of social behavior. In addition to his many path breaking articles in Nature, Science, and the American Economic Review, he is the co-editor of Neuroeconomics: Decision Making and the Brain¸ which received the PROSE Award for Excellence in Social Sciences; Moral Sentiments and Material Interests: The Foundations of Cooperation in Economic Life (2005); and Foundations of Human Sociality (2004). He has recently published a number of articles on competition and behavior approaches to the market.

He is a former president of the Economic Science Association and of the European Economic Association and an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was recipient of the Marcel Benoist Prize in 2008 and the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize in 2013.