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University of Munich, Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Information and Forschung (research): This is what the Ifo Institute has stood for since its foundation in January 1949. Its legal form is that of a registered, non-profit association. The Ifo Institute is one of the leading economic research institutes in Europe and at the same time the one most often quoted in the German media. A co-operative agreement links it closely with the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich, and in 2002 it was officially proclaimed an “Institute at the University of Munich”. In the CESifo Group it co-operates closely with the Center for Economic Studies (CES) and CESifo GmbH. CESifo is also the brand name under which the international activities of Ifo, CES and CESifo GmbH are united.

The Ifo Institute is a member of the Leibniz Association and receives institutional financing based on Article 91b of the German constitution (Basic Law: GG) from the German federal government and the Länder.


The Ifo Institute is a European think-tank that serves as a bridge between academic research and practical policy. It concentrates on applied, policy-oriented economic research with the goal of achieving more stability, growth and societal cohesion with environmental responsibility. The research of the Ifo Institute deals more and more with European and global issues. It strives to meet the highest academic standards and contributes to policy advice and the economic-policy debate. It is committed to providing services for research and the general public.

The Ifo Institute is an independent institution that makes its services available to groups in society without regard to their political orientation.


The tasks of the Ifo Institute consist of three components:

Applied economic research

The Ifo Institute acts as a mediator between university research and the general public, including the media, by applying theoretical knowledge, based on its compiled economic data, to practical economic policy, at the same time expanding and enriching this knowledge.

As a part of its academic economic research, the Ifo Institute also devotes great efforts to the training of highly qualified junior researchers.

Policy consulting for the public and private sectors

The Ifo Institute is active as a think-tank for economic policy and uses its database and research competence to participate intensely in the public debate on economic policy and reform concepts.

Services for researchers, business, government and the general public

The Ifo Institute offers a broad range of services to various groups in society interested in economic issues. These services include in particular

  • the compilation, processing and the provision of economic data and information (for example, business surveys and the preparation of indices),
  • the compilation of material for the comparison of international institutions within the framework of DICE – the Database for Institutional Comparisons – and
  • the collection and processing of other macroeconomic data.

Structure and organization

The Ifo Institute has a two-level structure. It is managed by the Executive Board, consisting of a president (Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn) and a managing director (Meinhard Knoche). TIn accordance with its main concentrations, its research and service tasks are carried out by eight departments. Many projects are conducted by inter-departmental research teams.

The research departments receive support from the departments Press, Publications, Conferences, the library and the administration (Finances and IT, Human Resources).

The Ifo Institute has a quality management system certified according to DIN EN ISO 9001.

National and international co-operation partners

The Institute fosters the exchange of ideas with institutions, universities and researchers throughout the world. Apart from its close ties to the LMU, co-operation with its other partners – the universities of Augsburg, Dresden, Leipzig, Münster, Nürnberg-Erlangen, Passau and Regensburg – also enriches the work of the Institute. Numerous networks have been created from project co-operations. These include CIRET (Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys), Euroconstruct, EENEE (Network of European Educational Economists) and the network that produces the “Eurozone Economic Outlook”.

Especially important for the international transfer of knowledge are Ifo’s research professors and its visiting researchers. The research professors are external economists who are contractually bound to the Institute for longer periods of time and who provide research advice and participate in Ifo research projects. In addition, ca. 30 visiting researchers come to the Institute every year and exchange ideas with Ifo researchers in all its research departments.


The Ifo Institute was established in January 1949 from the Süddeutsche Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung and the Informations- und Forschungsstelle at the Bavarian Statistical Office. One of the founders was Prof. Ludwig Erhard, the architect of the German social market economy.

In September 1993 the Ifo Dresden subsidiary started its work, supported by the Free State of Saxony and by its own contract research.

In September 1997, a co-operation agreement was signed between the Bavarian State Government, the LMU and the Ifo Institute, which formed the basis for the first joint appointment of an Ifo president, Prof. Sinn, who assumed office in February 1999. In the same year CESifo GmbH, a joint subsidiary of the LMU and the Ifo Institute, was established.

After a unanimous decision the Senate of the LMU the Bavarian State Government, the Ifo Institute was named an “Institute at the University of Munich” in August 2002.


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