ZEW Honours Young Researcher from the University of Basel

Dates and News

ZEW Mannheim presented the Heinz König Young Scholar Award for the 22nd time. This year, the research award went to Elisa Gerten from the University of Basel for her study “Information and Communication Technology. Hierarchy, and Job Design”, which was co-authored with Michael Beckmann, also from the University of Basel, and Matthias Kräkel from the University of Bonn. The award-winning work examines how the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) has changed the design of workplaces.

The Heinz König Young Scholar Award, which is awarded annually by ZEW, is endowed with 5,000 euros and also offers the possibility of a three-month residential fellowship at ZEW. Every year, the research award is sponsored by a different member of the ZEW Sponsors’ Association, this year by SAP SE. The company’s CFO, Luka Mucic, congratulated the award winner: “It is a special pleasure for me and my colleagues in the ZEW Sponsors’ Association to support young, promising researchers. The results of the award-winning work are also particularly relevant for a large company like SAP with various organisational units and levels. It is important for us to understand what impact flexible working models have on the organisation and employees and how we can continue to design attractive workplaces in the future. We therefore follow the evidence-based research on this topic with great interest.”

The study shows that the use of ICT makes monitoring easier, e.g. through staff appraisals, performance target agreements and performance evaluations. This applies equally to managerial and non-managerial employees. For managers, the use of ICT also enables more autonomy, for example by working from home, but overall ICT leads to a more centralised organisation of work, according to the core findings of the study. “Elisa Gerten’s work combines an elegant theoretical model with sound empirical analysis and addresses a highly topical issue. It is important to understand what effects the use of ICT has on work design, because this in turn influences the innovative capacity and productivity of employees and companies,” explains Professor Irene Bertschek, head of the ZEW’s Research Department “Digital Economy”.

About the Heinz König Young Scholar Award

The Heinz König Young Scholar Award is named after the late founding director of ZEW, Professor Heinz König, who died in 2002. The award recognises excellent empirical research papers by up-and-coming researchers. In keeping with Heinz König’s legacy, ZEW has no intention of adding yet another award to the multitude of prizes for established researchers, but instead aims to promote talented economists in the early stages of their career.

The Heinz König Young Scholar Award 2022 was presented for the first time at one of ZEW’s flagship conferences. A PhD workshop held in the context of the ZEW conference on the topic “Economics of Information and Communication Technologies” aimed at promoting young economists. From around 140 submissions for this year’s conference, including 60 from PhD students, six PhD students were selected to discuss their work with other young researchers and renowned scholars and to enter the competition for the Heinz König Award.