21st Century - Economics

Margit Osterloh

Margit Osterloh (born 23 July 1943 in Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany) is a German and Swiss economist.


Osterloh’s research areas include: Organizational Theory, Theory of the Firm, Innovation and Technology Management, Process Management, Knowledge Management, Trust Management, Philosophy of Science, Gender Economics, Corporate Governance, Research Governance, Migration Policy and Aleatoric Democracy. In the media she expresses her opinion on the following research topics:

Management Pay

Osterloh advocates a cutback of bonus payments in upper management. She argues that pay for performance hampers creativity and intrinsic motivation.[1][2][3][4]

Academic Rankings

In August 2012 Osterloh, together with Alfred Kieser, launched an appeal to other business professors to boycott the upcoming Handelsblatt Betriebswirte-Ranking [de] (Handelsblatt Ranking of Professors in Business Economics). In various articles she argues, together with Alfred Kieser and Bruno S. Frey, against rankings and impact factors as a quality criterion for scholars in academia.

Women in leadership positions

Osterloh advocates quota and she also argues for partial random selection of women in leadership positions out of a carefully selected pool as a counter-measure to reduce women’s, on average, higher aversion to competition versus men.[5]

Migration issues

Margit Osterloh published, together with Bruno S. Frey, a much-noticed article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In analogy to the cooperative model, they propose that refugees acquire a share certificate of the state in order to enter the country. In return they get permission to work in the labor market. If a refugee is recognized as a political asylum seeker, the fee paid for the share certificate will be reimbursed. The currently inhumane and life-threatening defense against refugees and the exploitation by criminal traffickers is thereby reduced. Refugees receive a calculable perspective and incentives for integration. The proposal offers advantages for the countries of destination and origin, as well as for migrants.[6]

Revival of controlled randomness as a decision-making mechanism

Together with Bruno S. Frey, Osterloh argues for a return to random or aleatoric elements such as those used in Classical Athens and up to Modern Age in numerous European communities. This improves – similar to quality circles in enterprises – the activation of knowledge, the engagement of the population, and results in a strengthening of participation as well as in a reduction of inequality dominance of the elites.[7]


  1. ^ “Stop tying pay to performance. The evidence is overwhelming. It does not work”. January 2012.
  2. ^ “Motivate people with prizes” (PDF). Nature465 (7300): 870–872. 2010. doi:10.1038/465870aPMID 20559368S2CID 26617399.
  3. ^ “Variable pay for performance is a folly”. 2011-09-26.
  4. ^ Pay for Performance Raises Performance in: Economic Ideas You Should Forget. Springer. 2017. ISBN 9783319474571.
  5. ^ “Room at the Top”. 2015-05-13.
  6. ^ “Migration Policy: Lessons from Cooperatives”CesIfo Working Paper Series.
  7. ^ “Aleatoric Democracy”CesIfo Working Paper Series.

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