Enabling better policy making

The FiFo Institute for Public Economics at the University of Cologne unites top quality economic research with a straightforward "hands on"-approach to policy consulting. Our mission is to enable better policy making.

Primarily, we engage in all fields related to public finance, to urban economics and local finance, to environmental economics, and to questions of demographic change. We pursue these aims: By listening first. By providing the best information attainable. By answering the relevant research questions. By offering top-quality policy advice.

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 In a new study for the German Federal Audit Office, FiFo Policy Fellow Martin Werding and Benjamin Läpple identify the large demographic sustainability gap in our social security systems. Handelsblatt reports. In FiFo Report No. 31, they show that reforms can allocate these risks somewhat more equitably. However, the main burden for today's young people and the coming generation seems to be unavoidable. Therefore, we have to face this intergenerational issue at an early stage - just as we do now with climate change


How can taxes and special levies regulate human behaviour? And how should the resulting revenue be used? In FiFo Discussion Paper 22-3, Dieter Ewringmann and Klaus Mackscheidt analyse these questions with a view to the longstanding debate in public economics. For Germany, they recommend a CO2 levy that finances a compensation fund.


Congratulations to Martin Werding for his nomination to the Council of Economic Experts! His great expertise on the sustainability of fiscal policy and social protection will be a welcome addition to the work of the "Economic Wise Persons". See Martin Werding's work e.g. in FiFo Report No. 29 and in the newly published book "Deutschland und sein Geld" (Germany and its Money).


Public finances between ambition, day-to-day life and the crises are presented in the new book published by Jens Bullerjahn, Michael Thöne and Ringo Wagner. A wealth of perspectives from politics, academia and practitioners are brought together on 720 pages in 41 essays and 16 conversations with Olaf Scholz and many others. A very personal exchange between Jens Bullerjahn and Michael Thöne. Furthermore, there are contributions from FiFo by Eva Gerhards, Klaus Mackscheidt and a few more by Michael Thöne. More on that soon. The free digital book (in German) is available here; the free print version will follow in a few weeks.


"The more the better'' often is the motto of fiscal policy in crisis management. Which expenditures contribute to long-term goals and which, at worst, create burdens for the future is of secondary importance. Such differences in the quality of public finances, however, offer the starting point for improving governments’ performance and resilience without undermining the intergenerational sustainability of public finances. In FiFo Discussion Paper 22-2, Michael Thöne reviews the concept of the "Quality of Public Finances" (GPF) and discusses its contributions for the 2020s policies.


Wir stellen ein. Als Research Consultant des FiFo Köln bearbeiten Sie anwendungsorientierte Forschungsvorhaben in mehreren Feldern der Finanzpolitik. Ein Schwerpunkt liegt auf der wissenschaftliche Politikberatung der kommunalen Ebene und der Länder. Wir arbeiten auch intensiv zu Fragen der Klimapolitik und der europäischen Finanzen. Wenn unsere Jobanzeige Sie anspricht, senden Sie Ihre Bewerbungsunterlagen an: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Biontech's profits create tax gains worth billions. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate even becomes a payer state in the federal-state fiscal equalisation system. Model calculations show a paradoxical drop of revenues in the short term, but more important is the possibly permanent shift of power in federal finances, Michael Thöne explains in the Handelsblatt. This will considerably shorten the time until the finely balanced construct needs to be revamped.


Bei Gebäuden muss der Klimaschutz dreifach schneller werden. EWI und FiFo Köln haben ein Konzept entwickelt, um innovative Carbon Contracts for Difference (CCfDs) auch im sensiblen Wohnsektor einzusetzen. Klimaschutzverträge über einen CO2-Garantiefonds könnten zwei zentrale Hindernisse überwinden: Zu wenig Investitionen aufgrund von Preisunsicherheiten und zu hohe Förderkosten. Die Mobilisierung privaten Kapitals hilft zudem, die Schuldenbremse einzuhalten. Die Machbarbarkeitsstudie von Ewi und FiFo zum Download.


Creating a plenty of housing that meets the needs and tripling the speed of climate protection in the housing sector at the same time: In addition to many private investments, this will also require intensive government efforts. Here, the funding channels must be geared even more efficiently to achieving maximum "bang for the buck", explains Michael Thöne in his interview with the VdW magazine.

10 May 2022

Öffentliche Finanzen zwischen Anspruch, Alltag und Krisen

Jens Bullerjahn, Michael Thöne, Ringo Wagner (Hrsg.)

Buch, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Mai 2022


28 April 2022

Michael Thöne

FiFo / April 2022 / Discussion Paper, FiFo-Köln


(pdf, 216,81 KB)
03 March 2022

Klaus Mackscheidt

FiFo / März 2022 / Discussion Paper, FiFo-Köln


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