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The Freiburg Tradition

Founded in 1457 the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg is one of the oldest German universities. It is renowned for its excellence and tradition in philosophy and the social sciences. Edmund Husserl's abstract approach towards the role of theoretical reasoning had strong effects beyond the realms of philosophy into the social sciences and, in particular, on Walter Eucken, who made theoretical reasoning a basis for impartial analysis of economic conflict and for impartial policy advice.

The work of the economist Walter Eucken (1891-1950) and the law professors Franz Böhm (1895-1977) and Hans Grossmann-Doerth in the 1930's and 40's about a (new) economic order became the cradle of the "Freiburg School" that provided instrumental concepts and ideas for both the institutional and social order of post-war Germany, the socalled "Soziale Marktwirtschaft". Especially, the role of competition as an instrument to balance economic and political power was made a cornerstone of the post-war order and a basis for economic welfare. Thus "Ordnungspolitik", the theory of improving economic and social institutions became a central focus of the research activities of the Freiburg faculty.

Also the work of the late Nobel laureate Friedrich A. von Hayek (1899-1992) on spontaneous economic orders is widely recognized as a contribution to the Freiburg tradition. In his work von Hayek emphasises the role of competition as a mechanism for innovation and the improvement of social institutions.

Von Hayek was awarded the Noble Prize in 1974 for his earlier fundamental insights into the role of the price system for information aggregation in market economies.

With Jan Tinbergen another Nobel laureate is closely affiliated with the faculty. Tinbergen holds a honorary doctoral degree of the University of Freiburg. He is one of the two first Nobel laureates in economics, and a founding father of econometrics and, thus, modern quantitative economic analysis. The statistical tools of modern econometrics are indispensable for comparative empirical institutional research. The rigorous and impartial analysis of economic order and political institutions continues to remain the fo-cus of the research and teaching activities of the Freiburg faculty as expressed in its leitmotiv: "Economic Order and Organization".

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