About us

Institute for Small Business Economics at the Georg‐August‐University Goettingen (ifh Göttingen)

The ifh Göttingen considers itself a competence centre for skilled crafts in the area of economic research. The institute compiles and publishes academically founded analyses and reports. In general the work interconnects theory and practice while at the same time applied research accommodates the needs of individual firms in the skilled crafts and deduces transferable and applicable results.

Founded in 1953, the "Institute for Small Business Economics" ("Volkswirtschaftliches Institut für Mittelstand und Handwerk an der Universität Göttingen", ifh Göttingen), is one of five research institutes integrated in the German Institute of Skilled Crafts e.V. (DHI).

Since early 2005, Prof. Dr. Kilian Bizer is the director of the ifh Göttingen. Mr. Bizer also holds the chair for Economic Policy and SME Research at the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Göttingen.

The ifh Göttingen focuses on economic issues particularly arising from the following areas:

  • Competitiveness, economic trends
  • Labour market and employment
  • Foreign trade
  • Ecology and energy
  • Financial and economic policy: Fiscal, social, labour, regional policy
  • Cooperation, cooperation management
  • Structure, perspective and regional analyses

Further work areas:

  • Collection of German speaking historical literature relevant for skilled crafts
  • Hosting professional trainings for small business management consultants in the Chambers of Skilled Crafts ("economic seminars")
  • Hosting the annual economist forum for economists of skilled crafts organisations

The institute’s research projects are based on proposals established by Chambers of Skilled Crafts, skilled craft associations, the German Confederation of the Skilled Crafts (ZDH) as well as ministries of economics on the federal and state level; the DHI research council passes on the proposals to the institute.

To a large extent, the ifh Göttingen is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics, the State Economic Ministries and the Skilled Crafts organisations. The remaining funds are acquired from different third parties.

The legal representative of the institute is the "Volkswirtschaftliches Institut für Mittelstand und Handwerk an der Universität Göttingen e.V". According to the statute, the presidency is executed by Karl-Wilhelm Steinmann, Chairman of the permanent State Representation of the Lower Saxon Chambers of Skilled Crafts.

An advisory board with leading personalities from skilled crafts organisations supports the institute in its work. Frau Ass. Ina-Maria Heidmann, managing director of the Chamber of Skilled Crafts Hildesheim-Southern Lower Saxony, is the chairwoman of the advisory board.

English-language Publications (selection)

Erlei, A., Das, R., Meub, L., Anand, A. & Gadiraju, U. (2022). For What It's Worth: Humans Overwrite Their Economic Self-Interest to Avoid Bargaining With AI Systems. Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2022). Link zum Artikel

Runst, P. & Wyrwich M. (2022). Poor soil as a fertile breeding ground: Historical agricultural specialization and persistence of regional specialization in crafts. Annals of Regional Science. 10.1007/s00168-022-01137-7. Link zum Artikel

Runst, P. & Höhle, D. (2022). The German eco tax and its impact on CO2 emissions. Energy Policy, 160, 112655. Link zum Artikel

Runst, P. & Thomä, J. (2022). Does personality matter? Small business owners and modes of innovation. Small Business Economics, 58 (4), 2235-2260. Link zum Artikel

Bäumle, P., Hirschmann, D. & Feser, D. (2022). The roles of knowledge intermediaries in sustainability transitions and digitalization: Academia driven fostering of socio technical transitions?. ifh Working Papers (No. 35). Göttingen. Download

Runst, P. & Thomä, J. (2022). Resilient entrepreneurs? Revisiting the relationship between the Big Five and self-employment. ifh Working Papers (No. 34). Göttingen. Download

Matthies, E., Thomä, J. & Bizer, K. (2022). A hidden source of innovation? Revisiting the impact of initial vocational training on technological innovation. ifh Working Papers (No. 33). Göttingen. Download

Bischoff, T. S., Hipp, A. & Runst, P. (2022). Firm innovation and generalized trust as a regional resource. ifh Working Papers (No. 32). Göttingen. Download

Matthies, E., Haverkamp, K., Thomä, J. & Bizer, K. (2022). Does initial vocational training foster innovativeness at the company level? Evidence from German establishment data. ifh Working Papers (No. 30), Updated version [first published in 2021]. Göttingen. Download

Feser, D. & Proeger, T. (2021). The ambiguous role of best practice examples for knowledge spillovers: Evidence from universities and start-ups in the Berlin entrepreneurial ecosystem. In Fernandes, C., Ramírez-Pasillas, M. & Ferreira, João J. (Hrsg.). Universities, Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, and Sustainability, Band 3. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 87-104. Link zum Artikel

Runst, P. (2021). A case study of bureaucratic discretion: heterogeneous application of market entry regulation in Germany. Journal of Institutional Economics, 1-20. Link zum Artikel

Bennat, T., Bizer, K., Cantner, U., Sternberg, R., Lange, J. & Proeger, T. (Hrsg.) (2021). The Innovation Mode of Doing, Using and Interacting: Learning within Regions. Loccumer Protokolle, Band 09/2021. Rehburg-Loccum. Download

Bauknecht, D., Heyen, D. A., Gailhofer, P., Bizer, K., Feser, D., Führ, M., Winkler-Portmann, S., Bischoff, T. S. & Proeger, T. (2021). How to design and evaluate a Regulatory Experiment? A Guide for Public Administrations. . Freiburg, Berlin, Göttingen, Darmstadt. Link zum Artikel

Alhusen, H., Bennat, T., Bizer, K., Cantner, U., Horstmann, E., Kalthaus, M., Proeger, T., Sternberg, R. & Töpfer, S. (2021). A New Measurement Conception for the ‘Doing-Using-Interacting’ Mode of Innovation. Research Policy, 50 (4), 104214. Link zum Artikel

Thomä, J. & Bischoff, T. S. (2022). From automation to databased business models – digitalization and its links to innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises. ifh Working Papers (No. 31), Updated version [first published in 2021]. Göttingen. Download

Runst, P. & Höhle, D. (2021). Quasi-Carbon Taxation - The German Eco Tax and Its Impact on CO2 Emissions. ifh Working Papers (No. 29). Göttingen. Download

Feser, D., Winkler-Portmann, S., Bischoff, T. S., Bauknecht, D., Bizer, K., Führ, M., Heyen, D. A., Proeger, T., von der Leyen, K. & Vogel, M. (2021). Institutional conditions for the up-take of governance experiments – A comparative case study. ifh Working Papers (No. 28). Göttingen. Download

Bischoff, T. S., von der Leyen, K., Winkler-Portmann, S., Bauknecht, D., Bizer, K., Englert, M., Führ, M., Heyen, D. A., Gailhofer, P., Proeger, T. & Vogel, M. (2020). Regulatory experimentation as a tool to generate learning processes and govern innovation – An analysis of 26 international cases. sofia-Diskussionsbeiträge, 20-7. Darmstadt. Link zum Artikel

Bauknecht, D., Bischoff, T. S., Bizer, K., Führ, M., Gailhofer, P., Heyen, D. A., Proeger, T., & von der Leyen, K. (2020). Exploring the pathways: Regulatory experiments for sustainable development – An interdisciplinary approach. Journal of Governance & Regulation, 9 (3), 49-71. Link zum Artikel

Runst, P. & Thonipara, A. (2020). Dosis facit effectum why the size of the carbon tax matters: Evidence from the Swedish residential sector. Energy Economics, 104898. Link zum Artikel

Fredriksen, K. (2020). Does occupational licensing impact incomes? A replication study for the German crafts case. Journal for Labour Market Research, 54 (8), 1-17. Download

Alhusen, H. & Bennat, T. (2020). Combinatorial innovation modes in SMEs: mechanisms integrating STI processes into DUI mode learning and the role of regional innovation policy. European Planning Studies. Link zum Artikel

Thomä, J. & Zimmermann, V. (2020). Interactive learning — The key to innovation in non-R&D-intensive SMEs? A cluster analysis approach. Journal of Small Business Management, 58 (4), 747-776.

Proeger, T. (2020). Knowledge spillovers and absorptive capacity – institutional evidence from the ‘German Mittelstand‘. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 11 (1), 211-238. Link zum Artikel

Runst, P. & Thomä, J. (2020). Does occupational deregulation affect in-company vocational training? – Evidence from the 2004 Reform of the German Trade and Crafts Code. Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik), 240 (1), 51-88. Link zum Artikel

Proeger, T. & Runst, P. (2020). Digitization and Knowledge Spillover Effectiveness—Evidence from the “German Mittelstand”. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 11 (4), 1509-1528. Link zum Artikel

Alhusen, H. (2020). Experience-based know-how, learning and innovation in German SMEs. An explorative analysis of the role of know-how in different modes of innovation. ifh Working Papers (No. 27). Göttingen. Download

Thonipara, A., Sternberg, R., Proeger, T. & Haefner, L. (2020). Assessing the Digital Divide and its Regional Determinants: Evidence from a Web-Scraping Analysis. ifh Working Papers (No. 25). Göttingen. Download

Runst, P. & Thomä, J. (2020). Does Personality Matter? Small Business Owners and Modes of Innovation. ifh Working Papers (No. 24). Göttingen. Download

Alhusen, H., Bennat, T., Bizer, K., Cantner, U., Horstmann, E., Kalthaus, M., Proeger, T., Sternberg, R. & Töpfer, S. (2020). Measuring the ‘doing-using-interacting mode’ of innovation in SMEs - a qualitative approach. ifh Working Papers (No. 23). Göttingen. Download

Fredriksen, K., Runst, P. & Bizer, K. (2019). Masterful Meisters? Voluntary Certification and Quality in the German Crafts Sector. German Economic Review, 20 (2), 83-104. Link zum Artikel

Runst, P., Thomä, J., Haverkamp, K. & Müller, K. (2019). A replication of ‘Entry regulation and entrepreneurship: a natural experiment in German craftsmanship’. Empirical Economics, 56 (6), 2225–2252. Göttingen. Link zum Artikel

Runst, P. & Thonipara, A. (2019). Why the Scope of the Carbon Tax Matters – Evidence from the Swedish Residential Sector. USAEE Working Paper No. 19-416. Link zum Artikel

Thonipara, A., Runst, P., Ochsner, C. & Bizer, K. (2019). Energy efficiency of residential buildings in the European Union – An exploratory analysis of cross-country consumption patterns. Energy policy, 129 (6), 1156-1167. Link zum Artikel

Proeger, T. & Runst, P. (2019). Digitization and Knowledge Spillover Effectiveness – Evidence from the ‘German Mittelstand’. ifh Working Papers (No. 20). Göttingen. Download

Runst, P. & Thonipara, A. (2019). Dosis Facit Effectum. Why the Scope of the Carbon Tax Matters – Evidence from the Swedish Residential Sector. ifh Working Papers (No. 19). Göttingen. Download

Meub, L., Runst, P. & von der Leyen, K. (2019). Can APPealing and more informative bills “nudge” individuals into conserving electricity?. ifh Working Papers (No. 18). Göttingen. Download

Thomä, J. & Zimmermann, V. (2019). Non-R&D, interactive learning and economic performance: Revisiting innovation in small and medium enterprises. ifh Working Papers (No. 17). Göttingen. Download