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Ernst Fehr from the University of Zurich receives 2013 Gottlieb Duttweiler prize

University of Zurich

For almost two decades Ernst Fehr has been carrying out detailed and cutting-edge research into the social behaviour and economic preferences of people. In doing so, he has revised the traditional concept of man as "homo oeconomicus". Based on a number of experiments, Fehr has been able to document the "fairness preference" of people beyond cultural boundaries, in other words the fact that we are often driven not by selfishness but by a desire for fairness.

As one of the most influential economic scientists in the world, Fehr has made an important contribution to the "psychological turnaround in economics". Thanks to his transdisciplinary research approach he has managed to link economics with psychology, biology and neurosciences. The study areas of the award-winning researcher are diverse, ranging from the limits to the self-regulation capability of competitive markets to the role of the neuropeptide oxytocin in confidence-building and how to prevent female circumcision.

The politically independent Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize is awarded at irregular intervals for outstanding contributions to the community. Previous prize-winners include Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, former UN Secretary General and Nobel Prize winner Kofi A. Annan and the last president of Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel.

Ernst Fehr is yet another prize-winner whose work aims to create a better world. The presentation of the prize, worth 100,000 francs, will take place on 9 April 2013 at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Rüschlikon/Zurich in front of invited guests. Professor Dan Ariely, lecturer in behavioural economics at Duke University, will pay tribute to his research colleague. The ceremony will mark the high point of the anniversary year of the GDI, which was founded in 1963.

You can download a photo of the prize-winner at


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