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Law, Economic and Political Science

FRIAS - Nagoya IAR project group: "Social Governance by Law: Substantive Standards and Procedural Enforcement"

Prof. Alexander Bruns (University of Freiburg); Prof. Masabumi Suzuki (Nagoya University)

With the social governance by law and the interplay between substantive legal standards and procedural enforcement the Joint Project addresses a topic of both outstanding academic and practical importance. The legal framework is an essential instrument of modern societies under the rule of law to define the standards for the social life of man. The way the governance by law works may vary with the legal system and culture. In the analysis of legal governance instruments the interplay between substantive standards and their procedural enforcement is of central importance. In the pursuit of certain political or social goals a legal system is basically faced with two options: the exertion of influence on the behaviour of its citizens by means of preventive instruments or reactive organization. Preventive instruments are, e.g., prohibition and injunction. Examples of forms of reaction are damages, restitution and punishment.
The relationship of preventive and reactive regulatory instruments is a key element for the analysis and understanding of a legal system. Practically all modern legal systems implement a combination of prevention and reaction. Prevention aims at anticipatory avoidance of unwelcome results, whereas reaction is designed to compensate and maybe deter. On the one hand, a strong emphasis on prevention has the advantage of more immediate governance and risk avoidance. On the other hand it can involve the danger of over-regulation and strangulation of creative innovation. Modern regulation is often based upon preventive governance by creating elective choices and setting incentives. A reduction of preventive regulatory structures in favour of a more reactive legal system gives leeway to freedom of action and flexibility in society that are of import for economic, societal, scientific and cultural capacity for development. By the same token, the cost of such deregulation can be a loss of primary protection of legally guaranteed rights with the individual being referred to compensatory reaction, for example in the form of damages. In this major field the Joint Project aims at comparative and international research with a focus on the Japanese and German legal cultures in their respective international settings, especially in reference to the European Union, the United States of America and Asia.


FRIAS-USIAS project group "Linking Finance and Insurance: Theory and Applications"

Prof. Dr. Jean Berard (University of Strasbourg); Prof. Dr. Karl-Theodor Eisele (University of Strasbourg); Prof. Dr. Thorsten Schmidt (University of Freiburg); Prof. Dr. Ernst Eberlein (University of Freiburg)

The goal of this research group is to tackle problems which lie in the intersection of finance and insurance. Under the current market situation this is of particular interest, as the present low interest rate environment is both a big challenge for insurance companies and a key driving factor of stock markets. This shows the high topicality of this endeavor on one side and the enormous potential for future developments on the other side. 

The main topics we aim at are hybrid derivatives which have equity and interest rates as underlying instruments. This type of derivatives appears naturally in equity-linked insurance products, variable annuities and other financial products from the area of pensions and life-insurance. Our first step is to develop fundamental results on assets of this type, in particular we are looking for valuation and risk-management methodologies. We will also cover the important question of model risk utilizing methods from robust finance and Bayesian finance. The second step is to apply these results by studying specific industry-relevant problems and developing tailor-made solutions.


FRIAS project group "Model Risk"

Prof. Dr. Patrick Dondl; JProf. Dr. Philipp Harms; Prof. Dr. Eva Lütkebohmert-Holtz; Prof. Dr. Thorsten Schmidt (all from the University of Freiburg)

In the aftermath of the recent financial crises, model risk was identied as a main concern, triggering the rise of robust methods, robustness being linked intrinsically to nonlinearity. It is our goal to work on nonlinear methods in Finance and Probability, which are both applicable in practice and robust. Interesting connections to the physical sciences appear in models where evolution processes depend nonlinearly on randomness. Our proposal is a rst step towards a rich agenda with numerous applications. The topic has a high potential for future developments because an ecient treatment of model risk plays a crucial role in many other sciences such as Medicine, Physics, Biology, Informatics, where mathematical models are used. Our primary application in Finance is of highest social relevance, as illustrated by the enormous losses in the recent crises and their dramatic consequences for related economies. An important goal of this research group is to strengthen the connection to the applied sciences.


FRIAS project group "Roma, A Genetically Isolated Population?!"

Prof. Dr. Veronika Lipphardt; Prof. Dr. Anna Köttgen; Prof. Dr. Peter Pfaffelhuber; Dr. Fabian Staubach; Dr. Mihai Surdu; Anne-Christine Mupepele (all from the University of Freiburg)

Since 100 years, Roma have been a prominent example for “isolated populations” in human population genetics. Dozens of studies have explored the genetic structure and history of the so called Roma population. The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to analyse selected genetic studies of Roma with regard to their overall design (sampling strategies, data analysis, interpretation), their underlying assumptions, their ethical and societal implications and their impact in the public sphere. Our team brings together researchers from the life sciences, mathematics, medicine and the humanities for exploring alternative ways of approaching and interpreting Romarelated genetic data. This critical but constructive project aims to make a significant contribution to the debate on “genetically isolated” human populations, as well as to the multidisciplinary debate about the ethnic categories in biomedicine and the resulting problematic reifications of vulnerable populations.


FRIAS project group  "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Environmental Conflict and Related Migration"

Prof. Dr. Tim Krieger; Prof. Dr. Diana Panke; Prof. Dr. Michael Pregernig (all from the University of Freiburg)

The research group “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Environmental Conflict and Related Migration” sheds light on a timely and highly important topic, namely the relationship between how resource and environmental conflicts in countries of origin induce migration into host countries as well as whether and why migration fosters conflicts in host countries and how migration feeds back into countries of origin. It addresses three core questions: Under which conditions do environmental and resource induced conflicts in a country of origin induce in-centives for migration? Which individuals do indeed migrate? How are migration streams politically governed? These questions will be explored from an interdisciplinary perspective in regular meetings of the Forschergruppe at FRIAS, to which colleagues, junior researchers and guests will be invited. The Forschergruppe will organize in a workshop and an edited volume as well as Freiburger Horizonte talks.