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Ifo Institute – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich

Image Ifo Institute – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich

Information and Forschung (research): This is what the Ifo Institute has stood for since its foundation in January 1949. Its legal form is that of a registered, non-profit association. The Ifo Institute is one of the leading economic research institutes in Europe and at the same time the one most often quoted in the German media. A co-operative agreement links it closely with the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich, and in 2002 it was officially proclaimed an “Institute at the University of Munich”. In the CESifo Group it co-operates closely with the Center for Economic Studies (CES) and CESifo GmbH. CESifo is also the brand name under which the international activities of Ifo, CES and CESifo GmbH are united.

Member of Leibniz Association
Member of Leibniz Association

The Ifo Institute is a member of the Leibniz Association and receives institutional financing based on Article 91b of the German constitution (Basic Law: GG) from the German federal government and the Länder.


The Ifo Institute is a European think tank that forms a bridge between academic research and public discourse. It focuses on applied economic research with clear policy implications with a view to achieving greater stability, prosperity and cohesion for Europe and the world. Ifo's research is increasingly focused on European and global issues. It strives to comply with the highest scientific standards and aims to play a policy advisory role and contribute to policy debate. Ifo's research is closely related to the Institute's services for researchers and the general public.

The Institute is an independent body that provides its services to the public regardless of their political orientation.


Its mission statement divides the Ifo Institute‟s activities into three core tasks:

Applied economic research

The Ifo Institute acts as a mediator between university research and the general public, including the media, by applying theoretical knowledge, based on its compiled economic data, to practical economic policy, thus expanding and enriching this knowledge.

As a part of its academic economic research, the Ifo Institute is also deeply committed to training highly qualified junior researchers. It works closely with the LMU (University of Munich) in the field of doctoral level training.

Policy advisory work for politicians and the public

The Ifo Institute acts as a think-tank for economic policy and uses its database and research competence to actively participate in the public debate concerning the best economic policy ideas and reform concepts.

Services for researchers, business, government and the general public

The Ifo Institute offers a broad range of services to various groups of society interested in economic issues. These services specifically include the compilation, processing and the provision of economic data and information (for example, business surveys and the preparation of indices, as well as the provision of research data by the Economic and Business Data Center), the compilation of material for the comparison of international institutions within the framework of DICE – the Database for Institutional Comparisons – and the collection and processing of other macroeconomic data. The Ifo Institute also contributes to general education in the field of economics.

Structure and organization

The Ifo Institute has a two-level structure. It is managed by the Executive Board, consisting of a president (Prof. Dr. Clemens Fuest) and a managing director (Prof. Meinhard Knoche). In accordance with its main concentrations, its research and service tasks are carried out by eight departments ("Ifo Centers"). Many projects are conducted by inter-departmental research teams.

The research departments receive support from the departments Press, Publications, Conferences, the library and the administration (Finances and Centralised Services, IT, Human Resources).

The Ifo Institute has a quality management system certified according to DIN EN ISO 9001.


The Ifo Institute was established in January 1949 from the Süddeutsche Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung and the Informations- und Forschungsstelle at the Bavarian Statistical Office. One of the founders was Prof. Ludwig Erhard, the architect of the German social market economy.

In September 1993 the Ifo Dresden subsidiary started its work, supported by the Free State of Saxony and by its own contract research.

In September 1997, a co-operation agreement was signed between the Bavarian State Government, the LMU and the Ifo Institute, which formed the basis for the first joint appointment of an Ifo president, Prof. Sinn, who assumed office in February 1999. In the same year CESifo GmbH, a joint subsidiary of the LMU and the Ifo Institute, was established.

After a unanimous decision the Senate of the LMU the Bavarian State Government, the Ifo Institute was named an “Institute at the University of Munich” in August 2002.

Presidents of the Ifo Institute








Clemens Fuest 
since April 2016








Hans-Werner Sinn
March 1999 – March 2016








Karl Heinrich Oppenländer
1976 – 1999








Karl Maria Hettlage
1965 – 1976








Hans Langelütke
1955 – 1965








Karl Wagner
1949 – 1955

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