About us

Institute for Small Business Economics at the Georg‐August‐University Goettingen (ifh Göttingen)

The ifh Göttingen considers itself a competence centre for skilled crafts in the area of economic research. The institute compiles and publishes academically founded analyses and reports. In general the work interconnects theory and practice while at the same time applied research accommodates the needs of individual firms in the skilled crafts and deduces transferable and applicable results.

Founded in 1953, the "Institute for Small Business Economics" ("Volkswirtschaftliches Institut für Mittelstand und Handwerk an der Universität Göttingen", ifh Göttingen), is one of five research institutes integrated in the German Institute of Skilled Crafts e.V. (DHI).

Since early 2005, Prof. Dr. Kilian Bizer is the director of the ifh Göttingen. Mr. Bizer also holds the chair for Economic Policy and SME Research at the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Göttingen.

The ifh Göttingen focuses on economic issues particularly arising from the following areas:

  • Competitiveness, economic trends
  • Labour market and employment
  • Foreign trade
  • Ecology and energy
  • Financial and economic policy: Fiscal, social, labour, regional policy
  • Cooperation, cooperation management
  • Structure, perspective and regional analyses

Further work areas:

  • Collection of German speaking historical literature relevant for skilled crafts 
  • Hosting professional trainings for small business management consultants in the Chambers of Skilled Crafts ("economic seminars")
  • Hosting the annual economist forum for economists of skilled crafts organisations

The institute’s research projects are based on proposals established by Chambers of Skilled Crafts, skilled craft associations, the German Confederation of the Skilled Crafts (ZDH) as well as ministries of economics on the federal and state level; the DHI research council passes on the proposals to the institute.

To a large extent, the ifh Göttingen is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics, the State Economic Ministries and the Skilled Crafts organisations. The remaining funds are acquired from different third parties.

The legal representative of the institute is the "Volkswirtschaftliches Institut für Mittelstand und Handwerk an der Universität Göttingen e.V". According to the statute, the presidency is executed by Karl-Wilhelm Steinmann, Chairman of the permanent State Representation of the Lower Saxon Chambers of Skilled Crafts.

An advisory board with leading personalities from skilled crafts organisations supports the institute in its work. Frau Ass. Ina-Maria Heidmann, managing director of the Chamber of Skilled Crafts Hildesheim-Southern Lower Saxony, is the chairwoman of the advisory board.

Team des ifh Göttingen

English-language Publications

Fredriksen, K., Runst, P. & Bizer, K. (2019). Masterful Meisters? Voluntary Certification and Quality in the German Crafts Sector. German Economic Review. Vol. 20 (2), 83-104. Download

Runst, P. & Thomä, J. (2019). Does occupational deregulation affect in-company vocational training? – Evidence from the 2004 Reform of the German Trade and Crafts Code. Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik). Download

Runst, P., Thomä, J., Haverkamp, K. & Müller, K. (2019). A replication of ‘Entry regulation and entrepreneurship: a natural experiment in German craftsmanship’. Empirical Economics, 56 (6), 2225–2252. Download

Runst, P. & Thonipara, A. (2019). Why the Scope of the Carbon Tax Matters – Evidence from the Swedish Residential Sector. USAEE Working Paper No. 19-416. Download

Thonipara, A., Runst, P., Ochsner, C. & Bizer, K. (2019). Energy efficiency of residential buildings in the European Union – An exploratory analysis of cross-country consumption patterns. Energy policy. Vol. 129 (6), 1156-1167. Download

Proeger, T. & Runst, P. (2019). Digitization and Knowledge Spillover Effectiveness – Evidence from the ‘German Mittelstand’. ifh Working Papers (No. 20). Göttingen. Download

Runst, P. & Thonipara, A. (2019). Dosis Facit Effectum. Why the Scope of the Carbon Tax Matters – Evidence from the Swedish Residential Sector. ifh Working Papers (No. 19). Göttingen. Download

Meub, L., Runst, P. & von der Leyen, K. (2019). Can APPealing and more informative bills “nudge” individuals into conserving electricity?. ifh Working Papers (No. 18). Göttingen. Download

Thomä, J. & Zimmermann, V. (2019). Non-R&D, interactive learning and economic performance: Revisiting innovation in small and medium enterprises. ifh Working Papers (No. 17). Göttingen. Download

Feser, D. & Proeger, T. (2018). Knowledge-Intensive Business Services as Credence Goods - a Demand-Side Approach. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 9 (1), 62-80. Download

Runst, P. (2018). The effect of occupational licensing deregulation on migrants in the German skilled crafts sector. European Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 45 (3), 555-589. Download

Runst, P. (2018). Does Immigration affect Demand for Redistribution? An Experimental Design. German Economic Review, Vol. 19 (4), 383-400. Download

Fredriksen, K. & Runst, P. (2018). Are estimates of the “natural experiment” in the German crafts sector causal?. ifh Working Papers (No. 16). Göttingen. Download

Rupieper, L.K.. & Proeger, T. (2018). Asymmetrische Information auf dem Handwerksmarkt – eine qualitative Analyse. ifh Working Papers (No. 15). Göttingen. Download

Runst, P. & Thomä, J. (2018). Does occupational deregulation affect in-company vocational training? – Evidence from the 2004 Reform of the German Trade and Crafts Code. ifh Working Papers (No. 14). Göttingen. Download

Thonipara, A., Runst, P., Ochsner, C. & Bizer, K. (2018). Energy Efficiency of Residential Buildings in the European Union – An Exploratory Analysis of Cross-Country Consumption Patterns. ifh Working Papers (No. 12) Updated version [first version published in 2017 with former title ‘Energy Conservation of Residential Buildings in the European Union – An Exploratory Analysis of Cross-Country Consumption Patterns’]. Göttingen. Download

Fredriksen, K. (2018). Does occupational licensing impact incomes? - The German crafts case. ifh Working Papers (No. 11). Updated version [first version published in 2017 with former title ‘Do legal restrictions to accessing professions impact incomes? - The German crafts case’]. Göttingen. Download

Feser, D. & Proeger, T. (2017). Asymmetric information as a barrier to knowledge spillovers in expert markets. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 13 (1), 211-232. Download

Feser, D. & Proeger, T. (2017). Heterogeneous Professional Identities as an Intra-Sectoral Knowledge Filter. In Joao Ferreira et al. (Ed.). Knowledge Spillover-based Strategic Entrepreneurship. London/New York: Routledge, 240-256.

Thomä, J. (2017). DUI mode learning and barriers to innovation—A case from Germany. Research Policy, 46 (7), 1327-1339. Download

Pham, H.D., Runst, P. & Bizer, K. (2017). Networks and Firm Performance: A Case Study of Vietnamese Small and Medium Enterprises. ifh Working Papers (No. 8). Göttingen. Download

Thomä, J. (2017). DUI mode learning and barriers to innovation - the case of Germany. ifh Working Papers (No. 7). Göttingen. Download

Fredriksen, K., Runst, P. & Bizer, K. (2017). Masterful Meisters? Voluntary Certification and Quality in the German Crafts Sector. ifh Working Papers (No. 3). Updated version [first published in 2016]. Download

Runst, P., Thomä, J., Haverkamp, K. & Mülller K. (2017). A replication of ‘Entry regulation and entrepreneurship: a natural experiment in German craftsmanship’. ifh Working Papers (No. 2). Updated version [first version published in 2016]. Göttingen. Download

Feser, D. & Runst, P. (2016). Energy efficiency consultants as change agents? Examining the reasons for EECs’ limited success. Energy Policy, Vol. 98 (11), 309-317. Download

Runst, P. (2016). The Effect of Occupational Licensing Deregulation on Migrants in the German Skilled Crafts Sector. ifh Working Papers (No. 6). Göttingen. Download

Müller, K. (2016). Economic Effects of Deregulation - Using the Example of the Revised Trade and Crafts Code 2004. ifh Working Papers (No. 5). Göttingen. Download

Runst, P. (2016). A comment on the adoption of energy-efficiency-measures within firms - Energy costs and firm heterogeneity. ifh Working Papers (No. 4). Göttingen. Download

Haverkamp, K. & Runst, P. (2015). Explaining the dynamics of occupational segregation by gender: A longitudinal study of the German vocational training system of skilled crafts. Comparative Social Research, Vol. 31. Bingley, 183-203.

Feser, D. & Runst, P. (2015). Energy efficiency consultants as change agents? Examining the reasons for EECs’ limited success. ifh Working Papers (No. 1). Göttingen. Download

Thomä, J. & Bizer, K. (2013). To protect or not to protect? Modes of appropriability in the small enterprise sector. Research Policy, 42 (1), 35-49.

Thomä, J. & Zimmermann, V. (2013). Knowledge protection practices in innovating SMEs. Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik (Journal of Economics and Statistics), 233 (5)+(6), 691-717.

Müller, K., Markworth, S. & Söndermann, M. (2011). The Craft and Trade Sector in the Culture and Creative Industries. Consolidated Report. Göttingen, Bonn.

Menkhoff, T., Wah, C.Y. & Loh, B. (2002). Change Leadership in Organizations: The Case of Singapore´s Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. International Small Business Series (No. 28). Göttingen. Download

Müller-Falcke, D. (2001). Adoption of Information and Communication Technologies by Small-scale Enterprises in Developing Countries. International Small Business Series (No. 27). Göttingen. Download

Strohmeyer, R. (2000). Public-Private Partnership in SSI Promotion: An Assessment of the Roles of Chambers and Trade Associations in Different Countries. International Small Business Series (No. 26). Göttingen. Download

Müller, K. (1998). International Activities of the German Craft Sector. International Small Business Series (No. 25). Göttingen. Download

Müller-Falcke, D. (1997). Informal Sector Enterprises in the Light of New Institutional Economics. International Small Business Series (No. 24). Göttingen. Download

Winkelmann, T. (1996). Internationalization Strategies of Small and Medium-Sized Suppliers in a Globalizing Economy. International Small Business Series (No. 23). Göttingen. Download

Hartmann, J. (1996). Criteria for Selecting Natural Resources in Conservation-Cum-Development Projects. International Small Business Series (No. 22). Göttingen. Download

Winkelmann, T. (1995). Evaluation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises as International Suppliers. International Small Business Series (No. 21). Göttingen. Download

Lim, C.P. (1994). Some Asian Experiences with the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises and their Relevance for Africa. International Small Business Series (No. 20). Göttingen. Download

Kassai, L.B. (1994). The Role of Small Enterprises in the Process of Innovation. International Small Business Series (No. 19). Göttingen. Download

König, W. & Müller, K. (1994). Empirical Survey of Cross-Border Co-operations in the Crafts Sector. International Small Business Series (No. 18). Göttingen. Download

Lim, C.P. (1994). Policy, Programmes and Priority Biases: A Hidden and Overt Agenda Against Small Scale Enterprises. International Small Business Series (No. 17). Göttingen. Download

Levitsky, J. (1993). Private Sector Support for Small Enterprises - Some Conclusions -. International Small Business Series (No. 16). Göttingen. Download

Fähnel, F., Hartmann, J., König, W. & Meier, R. (eds.) (1993). In Search of New and Innovative Concepts for Small Enterprise Development in Third World Countries - Results of an Expert Conference, Göttingen, October 1992. International Small Business Series (No. 15). Göttingen. Download

Hartmann, J. (1993). Small Business in Tropical Rainforest Areas. International Small Business Series (No. 14). Göttingen. Download

Meier, R. (1993). The Case for a New Approach to Small Enterprise Promotion. International Small Business Series (No. 13). Göttingen. Download

Gibb, A.A. (1993). Key Factors in the Design of Policy Support for the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Process - An Overview. International Small Business Series (No. 12). Göttingen. Download

Oehring, E. (1993). Credit Guarantee Scheme for the Small Business Sector - An interim assessment after five years in Latin America. International Small Business Series (No. 11). Göttingen. Download

König, W. & Billand, K. (1992). Techniques and Criteria for Classifying Small and Medium-Scale Industries by Size. International Small Business Series (No. 10). Göttingen. Download

Levitsky, J. (1992). Proposals for a Private Sector Support System for Small and Medium Enterprises in Developing Countries. International Small Business Series (No. 9). Göttingen. Download

Pilgrim, M. (1991). Institutional Representation of Small Business in Industrialized Countries. International Small Business Series (No. 8). Göttingen. Download

Sauer, J.D. (1991). Small Businesses as exporters: Survey results from Lower Saxony, Germany. International Small Business Series (No. 7). Göttingen. Download

Koch, M. (1990). Commercial Loans for Small Manufacturers in Latinamerica - Empirical Evidence on Formal Sector Credit Markets in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru -. International Small Business Series (No. 6). Göttingen. Download

Hartmann, J. & Peters, J. (1990). Informal Small Business in Rural Areas of Developing Countries. International Small Business Series (No. 5). Göttingen. Download

Peters, J. (1990). Internationalization of Small Business in a Microeconomic Perspective. International Small Business Series (No. 4). Göttingen. Download

König, W., Koch, M. & May, F. (1990). External Financing of Small-Scale Enterprises in Developing Countries - Reforms and Innovations within the Commercial Credit Business in Colombia -. International Small Business Series (No. 3). Göttingen. Download

Kucera, G. & König, W. (1990). The European Common Market and German Small Business. International Small Business Series (No. 2). Göttingen. Download

Lim, C.P. (1990). Development of Small-Scale Business in Developing Asian Countries - Policy Environment and Institutional Infrastructure -. International Small Business Series (No. 1). Göttingen. Download

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