Current Research Projects

Current Research Projects

Project title: The acceptance of tracking and tracing at the workplace

Principal investigators: Martin Abraham, Veronika Grimm, Kathrin Möslein, Cornelia Niessen, Claus Schnabel, Matthias Wrede

Funding: internal

Digitalization is revolutionizing the world of work in many ways. One question which has not been in the research focus as yet is the way tracking and tracing technologies will change the employment relationship. Modern sensor technology embedded in smart phones, combinations of body-worn sensors and artificial intelligence, and a multitude of novel applications appear in the market that have the potential to transform many aspects of work. Information generated by the individual in the workplace and the sensor-equipped artifacts in its work environment are getting more and more inseparable and are shared by a multitude of actors like supervisors, suppliers, or customers. In addition, regulations in many industries call for a strict process governance that focuses on the detailed tracking and tracing of organizational processes, implying the traceability of the personnel involved. Firms have increasingly implemented the continuous tracking of truck drivers in logistics and the recording of employees’ behavior in call centers and at assembly lines. In the near future, sensorized clothing might allow for early warnings of risks in stressful and dangerous work environments. Applications will multiply as we move into networked working environments, not only in production settings, but even more so in service encounters and customer interaction spaces. Although tracking and tracing has the potential to improve the work process and productivity, for workers it brings both risks (e.g., reduced work autonomy, job loss, violated privacy and data protection) and benefits (e.g., safety protection, health monitoring) and it may invoke conflicts between workers and management.

In this project we focus on the question under which circumstances various stakeholders – employees, employers, works councils, unions – are willing to accept the new tracking and tracing technologies at the workplace. For this we employ a series of factorial surveys which allow to vary the technology’s characteristics and consequences experimentally.


Abraham, M., Grimm, V., Lorek, K., Möslein, K., Niessen, C., Schnabel, C. & Wrede, M. (2017): To track or not to track? Laser Discussion Paper,  No. 101, Erlangen-Nürnberg (

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Matthias Wrede (Chair of Economics and Social Policy, FAU)

Funded by Ludwig-Erhard-Forschungszentrum für Kooperative Wirtschaft.

More information will be provided soon.


Project leaders: Prof. Dr. Matthias Wrede (Chair of Economics and Social Policy, FAU), Prof. Dr. Martin Abraham (Chair of Sociology and Empirical Research Methods with Special Focus on Labor Markets, FAU) and Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Brenner (Department Economic Geography, University Marburg).

Funded by VolkswagenStiftung.

Living and working conditions among German regions, but also among European regions in general show remarkable differences, which are strongly affected by the decline and aging of the population. Recently, the European economic and fiscal crisis has revealed that regional, social and economic disparities cause the legitimacy of the political and social system to be disputed. These developments pose a major social and political challenge for Germany and Europe as a whole. Consequently, implementing equal living conditions in Germany and achieving convergence of European regions are declared top priorities by German and European policymakers. To meet the target, various policy mechanisms are in effect, first and foremost, the provision of basic public services in urban and rural areas, fiscal equalization programs, and regional policy measures to promote the development and structural adjustment of regions lagging behind. Considering the scope and persistence of place-based policies, their success and acceptance will depend substantially on their economic effects and the public perception.

In part due to lack of appropriate data, it has not been seriously examined to what extent and by which subgroups of the population certain policy measures are considered as fair or unfair and how acceptance of policy measures is related to their economic effects. To close these research gaps, the research team, which unites experts from sociology, economics and economic geography, analyzes simultaneously the economic effects and the perception of place-based policies. The project consists of two interrelated subprojects. On the one hand, taking advantage of a large set of data on economic and social conditions at the regional level, the project studies in-depth the effects of selected policy measures. On the other hand, the project examines in detail the attitudes of Germans toward a wide range of place-based policies in order to determine how individual and regional characteristics affect these attitudes. Factors such as importance of self-interest, valuation of efficiency and perceived social justice constitute the core of the analysis. For the first time, using a factorial survey, an experimental design is introduced to identify attitudes regarding public policies aiming at equal living conditions.


Project leader: Prof. Dr. Matthias Wrede (Chair of Economics and Social Policy, FAU)

Funded by Ludwig-Erhard-Forschungszentrum für Kooperative Wirtschaft

Because PAYG pension schemes became less reliable, indivual savings are increasingly important for old age income. High financial market complexity places high demands on indivudal’s financial literacy.

Using laboratory experiments, in this project we analyze fiscal education and fiscal literacy. In particular, we examine whether financial literacy intervention can increase financial decision-making ability.


Project leaders: Prof. Dr. Matthias Wrede (Chair of Economics and Social Policy, FAU) and Prof. Dr. Martin Abraham (Chair of Sociology and Empirical Research Methods with Special Focus on Labor Markets, FAU)

Although collusive tax evasion by buyers and sellers of commodities and also by employers and employees is widespread all over the world, it has rarely been analyzed in the tax evasion literature. To fill this gap and to compare collusive tax evasion with independent tax evasion, this project anaylzes theoretically and experimentally  collusive tax evasion. Because collusive tax evasion involves social interaction, the project focuses on the effect of social norms.