I am Professor of Human Resources at Goethe University in Frankfurt. My main research field is organizational and personnel economics. I carry out randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with and within firms, with a view to increase both productivity and worker welfare and to test important theories. I also analyze observational career and promotion data and write models about careers, communication and talent management. My other main interest is how institutions shape the accumulation and allocation of human capital, focusing on problems of families, gender, and migration. 

I am the President of the Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics, a fellow at CEPR and IZA, a founding member of the Organizational Economics Committee of the German Economic Association, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Sciences Po, and of ConTrust at Goethe University. I am also Scientific Director of CLBO, a project leader at the Rockwool Foundation in Berlin and an Associate at ZEW, Mannheim.

Before joining Goethe, I graduated with a Ph.D. from ULB in Brussels and held positions at the Toulouse School of Economics and at SITE, Stockholm School of Economics.

Selected Publications

Friebel, Guido, Matthias Heinz, Mitchell Hoffman, and Nick Zubanov. 2023. "What do Employee Referral Programs (ERPs) Do? Measuring the Direct and Overall Effects of a Management Practice.", Journal of Political Economy, 131, no 3: 633-686.

Auriol, Emmanuelle, Guido Friebel, Alisa Weinberger, and Sascha Wilhelm. 2022. "Underrepresentation of Women in the Economics Profession More Pronounced in the United States Compared to Heterogeneous Europe." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119, no. 16: e2118853119. 

Friebel, Guido, Matthias Heinz, and Nikolay Zubanov. 2022. "Middle Managers, Personnel Turnover, and Performance: A Long‐Term Field Experiment in a Retail Chain." Management Science 68, no. 1: 211–229. 

Khashabi, Pooyan, Matthias Heinz, Nick Zubanov, Tobias Kretschmer, and Guido Friebel. 2021. "Market Competition and the Effectiveness of Performance Pay." Organization Science 32, no. 2: 334–351. 

Friebel, Guido, Michael Kosfeld, and Gerd Thielmann. 2019. "Trust the Police? Self-selection of Motivated Agents into the German Police Force." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics 11, no. 4: 59–78.

Friebel, Guido, Matthias Heinz, Miriam Krueger, and Nikolay Zubanov. 2017. "Team Incentives and Performance: Evidence from a Retail Chain." American Economic Review 107, no. 8: 2168–2203.

Van der Weele, Joel J., Julija Kulisa, Michael Kosfeld, and Guido Friebel. 2014.  "Resisting Moral Wiggle Room: How Robust Is Reciprocal Behavior?" American Economic Journal: Microeconomics 6, no. 3: 256–264.

Friebel, Guido, and Matthias Heinz. 2014. "Media Slant against Foreign Owners: Downsizing." Journal of Public Economics 120: 97–106. 

Ekberg, John, Rickard Eriksson, and Guido Friebel. 2013. "Parental Leave—A Policy Evaluation of the Swedish ‘Daddy-Month’ Reform." Journal of Public Economics 97 (2013): 131-143. 

Friebel, Guido, and Michael Raith. 2010. "Resource Allocation and Organizational Form." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics 2: 1-33.

Friebel, Guido, Marc Ivaldi, Catherine Vibes. 2010. "Railway (de) regulation: a European Efficiency Comparison. Economica, 77 (305): 77-91.

Friebel, Guido, and Sergei Guriev. 2006. "Smuggling Humans: A Theory of Debt-Financed Migration." Journal of the European Economic Association 4, no. 6: 1085–1111. 

Friebel, Guido, and Michael Raith. 2004. "Abuse of Authority and Hierarchical Communication.” The RAND Journal of Economics 35, no. 2: 224–244. https://doi.org/10.2307/1593689.

Auriol, Emmanuelle, Guido Friebel, and Lambros Pechlivanos. 2002. "Career Concerns in Teams." Journal of Labor Economics 20, no. 2: 289-307.

New Papers

Gender Promotion Gaps in Knowledge Work: The Role of Task Assignment in Teams (with Cagatay Bircan and Tristan Stahl)

Using rich data on personnel records, work assignments, and performance in a financial institution, we uncover the mechanisms leading to promotion gaps in knowledge teamwork. There is a substantial promotion gap for women in early careers. Analyzing over 10,000 investment projects, we find that assignments to project team leaderships (a “promotable” task) are crucial in explaining the gaps in promotions and affect long-term careers. We find causal evidence that male supervisors favor male bankers. A survey among employees indicates that women perceive to be disadvantaged in the assignments of tasks, but they do not differ in aspirations and demand for these roles.

Link to latest version 

CEPR Discussion Paper 17525 

Terrorism and Voting: The Rise of Right-Wing Populism in Germany (with Marius Liebald and Navid Sabet), revise and resubmit at American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Can terrorism shift the political landscape of a nation? Exploiting quasi-random variation between successful and failed terror attacks across German municipalities, we find that successful attacks lead to significant increases in the vote share for the right-wing, populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party in state elections. Successful attacks lead to differential increases in turnout which are mainly captured by the AfD; by contrast, the vote share for the ruling party decreases significantly. Using the German SOEP, a longitudinal panel of individuals, we find that people who reside in municipalities that experience successful attacks identify as more right-wing, prefer the AfD more and the ruling party less, and are more worried about migration and social cohesion. These results hold despite the fact that most attacks are targeted against migrants by right-wing nationalists. The AfD responds to attacks by speaking more about asylum, crime and Islam in its election manifestos at the state level. All other parties shift in the opposite direction.

Talent Management: the Role of Bosses (with Michael Raith), revise and resubmit at Journal of Labor Economics

Managers (“bosses”) are central to the development and allocation of human capital in firms (“talent management”) because they train employees and learn about their abilities. While a multi-divisional firm wants to allocate workers to wherever they are most productive, bosses who are rewarded for their own unit’s performance prefer to hold on to good employees, and the prospect of losing good people weakens the incentives to train them. We derive the optimal incentive contract that enables a firm to change from “silos” with only upward mobility to a “talent market” with cross-divisional mobility, and relate our model and its results to examples and evidence.

New Publications

International Migration and Illegal Costs: Evidence from Africa-to-Europe Smuggling Routes (with Miriam Manchin,…Mariapia Mendola and Giovanni Prarolo), forthcoming Journal of International Economics

The 2011 Arab Spring marked the opening of the Central Mediterranean Route for irregular border-crossings between Libya and Italy, which produced heterogeneous reductions of bilateral smuggling distances between African-European country pairs. We exploit this source of spatial and temporal variation in the length of irregular migration routes to estimate the elasticity of migration intentions for the whole African continent. We find substantial elasticities of migration intentions to reduction in distances, concentrated among young, medium-skilled individuals, those with an informative advantage (having a social network abroad/having a mobile phone) and coming from countries with weak rule of law.


The 30 Years’ War and Violent Crime in the Late 19th Century (with Matthias Heinz, Stefan Pasch and Navid Sabet), forthcoming Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 

We introduce a unique data set of estimated population losses in Germany as a result of the 30 Years’ War (30 YW), fought between 1618 and 1648, which we match to German counties as defined in 1900. We find that counties with larger population losses experience significantly more youth assault crimes in 1900. To support a more causal interpretation of our results, we identify a set of counterfactual counties via propensity score matching. On this matched sample, we find that a county’s 30 YW population losses are largely unrelated to a wide range of pre-30 YW social, economic, geographic and religious characteristics, indicating that our result is driven by differential exposure to the violence of the war and not by pre-existing county differences. Although, owing to the historical nature of our data, it is difficult to uncover precise mechanisms, we present additional evidence that suggests 30 YW population losses lead to a general deterioration of county social and economic conditions over time: Differential exposure to the violence of the war led otherwise similar counties to experience more conflict following the 30 YW as well as higher rates of child mortality, less welfare expenditure, and increases in suicides some 250 years later.

What do Employee Referral Programs (ERPs) Do? Measuring the Direct and Overall Effects of a Management Practice (with Matthias Heinz, Mitchell Hoffman and Nick Zubanov), Journal of Political Economy, March 2023

Open access link 

Employee referral programs (ERPs) are randomly introduced in a grocery chain. On direct effects, larger referral bonuses increase referral quantity but decrease quality, though the increase in referrals from ERPs is modest. However, the overall effect of having an ERP is substantial, reducing attrition by 15% and significantly decreasing labor costs. This occurs, partly, because referrals stay longer than non-referrals, but, mainly, from indirect effects: non-referrals stay longer in treated than in control stores. The most-supported mechanism for these indirect effects is workers value being involved in hiring. Attrition impacts are larger in higher-performing stores and better local labor markets.