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University of Osnabrueck

Institute of Environmental Systems Research
Barbarastr. 12
49076 Osnabrück

Room 66/E24
Tel: +49 541 969 2424
Fax: +49 541 969 2599




Dr. Ann-Kathrin Koessler


Behavioural Environmental Economics and Public Policy

The aim of my research is to generate a better understanding of human behavior in socio-ecological systems. I examine how pro-environmental behaviour can be motivated and strengthened, and what policy instruments are effective to do so. Currently, I am focusing on the question of how participation, self-commitment and empathy affect associated pro-social and pro-environmental behaviour.

In my research, I am employing experimental (lab and field), conceptual and theoretical methods.

Since November 2018, I am an IPBES (world biodiversity councilfellow and contribute to the report "Assessment of Diverse Values of Nature".

I am also a Visting Fellow at the Department of Geography and Environment of the London School of Economics.

Work in progress

    • Understanding and feeling as others - Experiments on perspective-taking and prosocial behaviour (with Juan-Felipe Ortiz-Riomalo and Stefanie Engel)
    • Social distance and pro-environmental behavior (with Nicolai Heinz and Stefanie Engel)
    • Better stay vague - specificity and publicity in public commitments (with Peter Martinnson)
    • Self-reports in group efforts (with Maria Cubel, Robert Hoffmann, Santiago Sanchez)


      Prosocial and proenvironmental behavior
      • Koessler, A. K, Fiebelkorn, F. and Vorlaufer, T. (2020). How information about peer behavior shapes adolescents perception of prevailing social norms and their consequent pro-environmental actions.  Working Paper (please email for manuscript)
      Environmental policy
      • Ortiz-Riomalo, J.F., Koessler, A. K., and Engel, S. (2020): Inducing perspective-taking for pro-social behaviour in natural resource management, (R&R), Econstor Working Paper
      • Koessler, A. K. (2019). Setting new behavioural standards: Sustainability pledges and how conformity influences their outreach. EconStor Working Paper (under review)
      • Thomas, F., Koessler, A. K., & Engel, S. (2019). Using behavioural insights to leverage environmental performance of the Common Agricultural Policy.  (please email for paper)
      General public policy
      • Howell, N. J., Koessler, A. K., Mason, R. F. & Dulleck, U. (2020). Behavioral insights into the impact of bankruptcy's public record on business activity, Insolvency Law Journal 28(3), 125-148; Article on Oxford Business Law Blog
      • Dulleck, U. , Koessler, A. K., Schaffner, Markus, & Torgler, Benno (2014). Improving communication with directors of firms in liquidation. ASIC Policy Report 428. Sydney, NSW: Australian Securities and Investments Commission

      Koessler, A. K. (2015). An experimental investigation of moral commitments (Doctoral dissertation). Queensland University of Technology, Australia. PhD Thesis


            • WS 2020 + 2019: Umwelt- und Verhaltensökonomik (Environmental and Behavioral Economics)

              Im Bereich Umweltökonomik werden folgende Fragen behandelt: Welche bedeutenden Umweltprobleme gibt es? Warum gibt es diese, d.h. warum handelt die Menschheit auf eine Weise, die gesellschaftlich gesehen nicht sinnvoll ist? Wieviel Umweltverschmutzung/-zerstörung ist eigentlich gesellschaftlich sinnvoll, oder sollte diese um jeden Preis vermieden werden? Welche Politikansätze können verwendet werden, um Umweltprobleme zu adressieren? Welche Vor- und Nachteile haben diese?
              Im Bereich der Verhaltensökonomik erweitern wir die vereinfachenden Annahmen der neoklassischen Ökonomik und bewegen uns auf der Schnittstelle zur Psychologie. Dabei fokussieren wir uns auf Beispiele aus dem Umweltbereich. Welche Faktoren bestimmen das menschliche Verhalten? Wie können wir motiviert werden im Sinne des Allgemeinwohls (z.B. des Umweltschutzes) zu handeln?   -   together with Prof. S. Engel und Dr.  F. Thomas


              WS 2020 + 2019 : Economic growth, Well-being and Environmental quality

              This course reflects on how welfare in a state is measured. What are the measurement variables in place, what are the target variables and how is well-being and environmental quality taken into account. We discuss insights from different streams of the literature on economic growth, planetary boundaries and well-being. Subsequently, we examine popular alternatives welfare measures and discuss if and why the index might be a valid alternative to the GDP. Collectively, we reflect on how the respective index considers and measures economic development, well-being and environmental quality.  - 2020 together with Dr. T. Vorlaufer


            •  SS 2020: Transformation towards sustainability

              Worldwide, we observe critical environmental changes such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity, soil degradation or the excessive exploitation of the oceans. A widespread consensus exists that in order to protect the natural resources and ecosystems we need to change the way our societies and economies work, but the big question is how?
              In this course, we will discuss whether and why a major transformation is necessary, what concepts for transformation (in the economic literature) exist and what instruments can be used to achieve transformation.
              First, we will lay the foundations for why a great transformation might be necessary (here we will draw on insights from the literature on environmental challenges, well-being and environmental justice). Subsequently, we will critically examine the potential of prominent concepts such as green growth, circular economy, de-growth and decoupling. Finally, we will reflect on what the barriers to transformation are (e.g. from a political economic perspective) and the ways in which a transformation towards sustainability can be achieved, e.g. through changes in values or mindsets, or through changes in institutions and policies, or changes in the way we measure societal welfare. The course is designed for an interdisciplinary audience and the language of instruction is English.    - together with Prof. S. Engel


              SS 2018: Environmental Behaviour and Policy 

              This course aims to provide an understanding of the basic policy instruments how environmentally damaging behaviour can be regulated. Standard economic approaches as well as behaviour based interventions, such as nudges, will be discussed. The course is designed for an interdisciplinary audience and the language of instruction is English.

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