Katrin Schmelz

Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow

Omidyar and EPE Postdoctoral Fellow

Katrin is a behavioral economist and psychologist who studies how incentives and controls affect individual motivation and the influence of culture and institutions on behavior. Her recent interest is in how these mechanisms can be applied to public health and climate policies. At SFI, she will draw on the complexity sciences to better understand how the interaction between institutions and people’s preferences can be taken into account when designing public policies, including measures to address climate change.

She holds a postgraduate degree in psychology. Her PhD dissertation in economics at the Max Planck Institute for Economics in Jena received the Heinz Sauermann Prize of the GfeW (German Association for Experimental Economic Research), she received the State Prize of Courageous Science for her research and public engagement with respect to covid policies, and the Science Prize of the Messmer Foundation for her current behavioral research on climate policies.

Three of her recent papers on how anti-COVID-19 policies change citizens’ preferences and beliefs appeared in PNAS. She has also published in Experimental Economics, The Journal of Neuroscience, and Human Brain Mapping. Her commentaries on public policy have appeared in the Washington Post, Nature News Feature, Science Insider, The Guardian, Times of India, Newsweek Japan, Radio France, VoxEU, LSE COVID-19 blog, and many other media outlets around the world.

Katrin is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Cluster of Excellence "The Politics of Inequality" at Konstanz University and the Thurgau Institute of Economics. She will join SFI as a Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow in August 2023, and following that, become a professor at the Section for Human Behavior at Technical University of Denmark (DTU).