Portrait: Ulrike Malmendier: The new way of doing business teaches in California

Ulrike Malmendier joins the Council of Economic Wise Men. She teaches in the US and does research on practical things like inflation and going to the gym.

When it comes to looking at Germany from the outside, with the critical distance that is often necessary, Ulrike Malmendier could do this particularly well. The 48-year-old was appointed as the new economist on Wednesday together with Bochum economist Martin Werding. There are about 9,100 kilometers and several time zones between her residence and work in California and the seat of business savvy men in Wiesbaden.

Since 2012, Ulrike Malmendier has been a professor of economics at the renowned University of California in Berkeley near San Francisco. This makes her the first member of the “Expert Council for the Assessment of Overall Economic Development”, as the economists are officially called, to hold a professorship outside Germany.

Economics Ulrike Malmendier can look back on a history book career

Ulrike Malmendier can be proud of a history book career in the natural sciences. Born in Cologne in 1973, she first took an apprenticeship at Deutsche Bank, first studied law and economics in Bonn, then business administration at Harvard. Research stays at elite universities followed, she was awarded prizes and published in respected scientific journals. The researcher is married to the Italian economist Stefano Della Vigna and has three children.

At first she thought of coming back to Europe with the children. “Because I don’t want my boys to learn American football, they’d better play football,” she joked years ago. the world on Sunday revealed in an interview. Then she was happy, but in it United States to have become. The attitude that women like her are “bad mothers” is much more widespread in Germany than in America. She works a lot, is sometimes stressed, constantly worries about raising her children properly and barely sleeps because at least one of the three children has been teething or had bad dreams, she explained. “I don’t need such criticism either.”

Observers say she talks a lot and fast. She says of herself that a laptop is enough for her to work “at full speed”. At conferences in her field, things are sometimes aggressive, but she’s also someone who “can shoot back without having to play the testosterone-laden man right away”.

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Malmendier researched gym visits and the behavior of top managers

Professionally, as a behavioral economist, Ulrike Malmendier deals with how people make decisions, especially incorrect or biased ones. It can be about very practical things like visiting gyms. The researcher has shown that people who sign annual contracts with a gym with great euphoria rarely go there and end up paying more. Those who only sign monthly contracts are better off in the end, but still pay more per month. visits than customers who buy single or ten-card tickets. Too often laziness gets in the way of going to the gym.

Her results are also difficult for top managers: the more self-confident they appear, the greater the media attention, the greater the risk that they will quickly become pinstripes. Confidence can quickly turn into overconfidence.

Ulrike Malmendier: Research into inflation expectations

Recently, Malmendier has dealt intensively with how people’s expectations of inflation are formed. Apparently, we let ourselves be controlled by our daily experiences and purchases. At a time when prices are also rising massively in Germany, knowledge in the field is sought after and valuable.

Next to Erlangen professor Veronika Grimm and Munich researcher Monika Schnitzer, Ulrike Malmedier is the third woman on the Council of Economic Experts. For the first time, the female members have a majority.

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