Economic outcome measures such as value added or employment figures are the reflection of countless individual decisions by a large number of actors operating in numerous realms of life. Economics has the principal tasks of revealing the conditions, impulses and mechanisms underlying these decisions and the corresponding outcome measures, and of explaining their dynamics to help design rational economic policy.

These tasks pose a considerable challenge since the circumstances in which both economic choices are taken and their analysis has to be conducted are subject to inexorable, incessant change. We are still far from completely understanding phenomena such as digitalisation and globalisation as well as their economic and societal consequences. Nevertheless, especially in the face of such major societal challenges, rational economic policy requires the guidance and support provided by scientific insight. Of particular importance are improvements in the understanding of the actual impact of economic policy and of other targeted measures.

Due to the complex interactions between variegated individual choices and other factors, the identification of causal relations is particularly challenging. Most importantly, in the social sciences empirical research on causes and effects is frequently only able to employ a non-experimental study design. State-of-the-art methods of empirical economic research, econometrics and, not least, experimental economics offer a wide spectrum of tools, however, to confront these severe identification problems.

Against this background, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation supports the analysis of economic relations that are not yet sufficiently understood as well as their consequences for the economy, society and political system. At the heart of support are empirical projects with convincing strategies for identifying causal relationships. Here, equal support is devoted to the investigation of fundamental economic questions as well as to the evaluation of specific individual measures. Crucial aspects include relevance to society and the novelty of insights generated by funded research.

Economic research frequently addresses areas which are also treated in neighbouring disciplines such as other social sciences or law. Interdisciplinary research is therefore assigned equal eligibility for support on par with distinctly economic research projects.