About the MPIfG
The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies conducts basic research on the governance of modern societies.
It aims to develop an empirically based theory of the social and
political foundations of modern economies by investigating the
interrelation between economic, social and political action.
Using primarily an institutional approach, it examines how
markets and business organizations are embedded in historical,
institutional, political and cultural frameworks, how they
develop, and how their social contexts change over time. The
institute seeks to build a bridge between theory and policy and
to contribute to political debate on major challenges facing
The research program is determined by the directors of the
. Within the guidelines of the Max
Planck Society, the directors are free to choose their
research projects. Some forty to fifty researchers,
including research staff, doctoral students, scholarship
recipients, visiting researchers and researchers in
grant-funded projects work together in teams that are often
international. Researchers at the institute participate in
research planning and develop their own projects in this
context. The MPIfG does not do contract research.
The MPIfG considers international cooperation to be the most
productive organizational form of comparative research. Many
visiting researchers make valuable contributions to its
research program. The MPIfG is part of a worldwide network
of research institutions and researchers in the social sciences. It cooperates closely with several
Doctoral students are an integral part of the MPIfG’s research environment. The institute is home to the International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy (IMPRS-SPCE), which is run jointly by the MPIfG and the Department of Management, Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne. Offering excellent research conditions and a structured doctoral program focusing on economic sociology and comparative political economy, with a special interest in organization studies and economic and social history, the School prepares outstanding German and international graduate students for a career in academia. While many alumni do successfully pursue university careers, others have gone on to work in the private sector, government, associations, and international organizations.
The Scientific Advisory Board
of the MPIfG, an independent commission made up of scholars
from different countries, convenes every two years to
evaluate the methods and results of the MPIfG's research. It
also advises the directors regarding the development of new
research areas. The institute's contact with the public is
enhanced by its
, which is made up of representatives of
government, business, associations, and the media.
The institute uses its website, www.mpifg.de, to present its
and the research
to the general public. The website also provides
and information about
and job openings
Research results are another major part of the website.
Visitors to the site have easy access to recent publications
by the institute and its researchers, publications since the
MPIfG's founding and a large number of downloadable
documents. The MPIfG has four publication series:
- MPIfG Books are monographs
aimed at a wide professional readership;
- MPIfG Discussion Papers
are articles reporting on current projects or featuring the work of a visiting researcher. They are usually subsequently
published in scholarly journals;
The MPIfG Journal Articles series features articles by MPIfG researchers and visiting scholars published in peer-reviewed journals.
The interested public is also informed about the institute's
work through its yearbook, its
, informational material, workshops for
events and mailings
aimed at journalists
. Public lectures given by the research staff and visiting researchers and seminars for high-school students give local residents an opportunity to come to the institute and learn about its work.
The MPIfG was founded under the directorship of
in 1985. It is one of the smaller research units of the
Max Planck Society (MPS)
, which has some eighty
institutes conducting basic research in several disciplines.
Most of them are devoted to research in
the natural sciences, but there are also a number of
institutes working in the human and social sciences. With a
1.4 billion euro annual budget, the Max Planck Society is
one of the largest non-university research organizations in
Germany. Some eighty percent of the Society's funds are
provided publicly by federal and state governments. The annual budget of the Max Planck
Institute for the Study of Societies is presently 4.4 million euros.
The institute has 32 full-time positions for researchers and
service staff, and some 33 positions for doctoral students
and post-doctoral researchers. Additional funding is
acquired from the German federal government, the European
Union, private funding organizations and foundations.
The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies has a
with some 300,000 items including monographs, articles from edited volumes, and journal
articles. It subscribes to 190 periodicals. The library offers online
access to its own catalog and a wide range of specialized
databases. A state-of-the-art infrastructure
ensures optimal international connectivity for the
institute's researchers and administration. The MPIfG also
provides vocational training to three apprentices working in
office communication and information technology.