Max Planck Research Fellow

Gert G. Wagner as Research Fellow in the Institute

The Max Planck Society appointed Gert G. Wagner a Max Planck Fellow in 2008. The Society thereby honors the interdisciplinary and fundamental research of an internationally highly esteemed scientist. In 2018, Gert G. Wagner has been appointed Senior Fellow of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development until the end of 2023 by the President of the Max Planck Society, Martin Stratmann.

As a Max Planck Fellow in the MPIB Wagner works and publishs together with the Centers for Adaptive Rationality and Lifespan Psychology as well as the Harding Center for Risk Literacy. Wagner is on the faculty of LIFE, the Research School on the Life Course, and he is a Co-PI of the Berlin Aging Study (BASE-II). He is a member of  different networks: Social Science Genetic Assocation Consortium (SSGAC), IPD-Work Consortium (Individual-Participant Data meta-analysis in Working populations) and Genetic Research into Quality of Life (GeneQol).

Wagner is a member of the editorial board of PLOS one, a member of the Interdisciplinary Working Group "Implications of Digitalization on the Quality of Communication of Science and Humanities" of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW), the Commission for Research Ethics of the Leibniz-Gemeinschaft, the ethics board of the European Social Survey, an European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ESS ERIC), and the ethics board of AEGIS (Advanced Big Data Value Chain for Public Safety and Personal Security), an EC H2020 Innovation Action. Wagner is chairman of The Social Advisory Council (Sozialbeirat der Bundesregierung) and he serves on the German federal government’s commission “Reliable Intergenerational Contract” (Verlaesslicher Generationenvertrag, 2018-2020), the German Advisory Council or Consumer Affairs, and on the evaluation panel of the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO).


© fotolia/Alexander Bramwell

Wagner's research focuses on the causes of individual differences in life courses, with a special focus on risk preferences. Wagner works a lot with the data of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) which he directed from 1989 to 2011. Previous findings from psychological research in a controlled laboratory environment often cannot be generalized. Contrarily, large social science surveys only rarely allow causal conclusions on behavior and development to be drawn at an individual level. This methodological dilemma is increasingly being overcome by integrating questions on psychological personality traits in the representative longitudinal SOEP study. Moreover, as one of the few studies of this kind worldwide, the SOEP allows the introduction of behavioral experiments by means of the SOEP Innovation Subsample (SOEP-IS). The SOEP serves also as reference study for the Berliner Altersstudie (BASE II) which is located in this Institute.


Max Planck Research Fellow
Gert Georg Wagner
gwagner [at] mpib-berlin [dot] mpg [dot] de


The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) is a representative longitudinal survey that has been providing microdata for basic research in the social and economic sciences since 1984. The SOEP and its innovation subsample (SOEP-IS) is located at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin).

More about SOEP

Was den Menschen wichtig ist

Abbildung 1: Was ist für Sie wichtig im Leben

Fragt man die Menschen danach, was ihnen wichtig ist und was Lebensqualität für sie bedeutet, dann spielen einige Themen, die in der Politik eine große Rolle spielen – beispielsweise Umwelt, Innovationen und Europa – eine Nebenrolle. Als wichtiger würden Gesundheit und nahestehende Mitmenschen wie Familie, Kinder und Freunde bewertet. Das schreiben Gert G. Wagner, Julia M. Rohrer und Martin Brümmer in einem Gastbeitrag, der in gekürzter Fassung am 27. Januar 2017 in der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung erschienen ist.

Lesen Sie hier die Langfassung!

SOEP Study: What happens when evidence-based facts contradict doctors' advice?

Current research outcomes on the basis of SOEP Data: