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Christian Zehnder


Professeur ordinaire
Département de comportement organisationnel

Internef, bureau 612
Tél 021.692.36.81

Adresse postale
Université de Lausanne
Quartier UNIL-Dorigny
Bâtiment Internef
1015 Lausanne


Axes de recherche

In its most general sense, my research program seeks to elucidate the driving forces behind economic decisions and to understand how behavioral motives and social considerations affect market outcomes, organizations and institutions. Most of my work can be attributed to the field of "behavioral economics", a relatively new line of research that combines insights from economics and psychology and examines systematic departures from the standard assumptions in economic models

In exploring my research questions I apply a variety of research tools, including laboratory experiments, field experiments and game theoretic models. The great advantage of the experimental approach is that it allows establishing a controlled decision environment in which behavior can be perfectly observed. Experiments enable us to study interaction of people in a very clean and well defined set-up, where many of the measurement and endogeneity problems present in field data can be overcome Furthermore, in many cases experimental investigations can provide valuable insights as they permit direct and rigorous tests of theoretical predictions. My research therefore reflects an ongoing interplay between experimental examinations and advancements in behavioral theory


26 publications classées par: type de publication  -  année

: Revue avec comité de lecture


Zehnder C. Herz H. Bonardi J.P. (in press). A Productive Clash of Cultures: Injecting Economics into Leadership Research. Leadership Quarterly. Revue avec comité de lecture

Chassang S. Zehnder C. (2016). Rewards and punishments: informal contracting through social preferences. Theoretical Economics, 11, 1145-1179.

Bendahan S., Zehnder C., Pralong F.P. ; Antonakis J. (2015). Leader corruption depends on power and testosterone. The Leadership Quarterly, 26, 101-122. Revue avec comité de lecture

Fehr E., Hart O. ; Zehnder C. (2015). How do informal agreements and revision shape contractual reference points?. Journal of the European Economic Association, 13, 1-28. Revue avec comité de lecture

Herz H., Schunk D. ; Zehnder C. (2014). How do judgmental overconfidence and overoptimism shape innovative activity?. Games and Economic Behavior, 83, 1-23. Revue avec comité de lecture

Eisenegger C., Pedroni A., Rieskamp J., Zehnder C., Ebstein R., Fehr E. ; Knoch D. (2013). DAT1 polymorphism determines L-DOPA effects on learning about others' prosociality. PLoS ONE, 8, e67820. Revue avec comité de lecture

Falk A., Meier S. ; Zehnder C. (2013). Do lab experiments misrepresent social preferences? The case of self-selected student samples. Journal of the European Economic Association, 11, 839-852. Revue avec comité de lecture

Falk. A. , Zehnder. C. (2013). A city-wide experiment on trust discrimination. Journal of Public Economics, 100, 15-27. Revue avec comité de lecture

Barmettler F., Fehr E. ; Zehnder C. (2012). Big experimenter is watching you! Anonymity and prosocial behavior in the laboratory. Games and Economic Behavior, 75, 17-34. Revue avec comité de lecture

Fehr E., Hart O. ; Zehnder C. (2011). Contracts as reference points - Experimental evidence. American Economic Review, 101, 493-525. Revue avec comité de lecture

Brown M. , Zehnder C. (2010). The emergence of information sharing in credit markets. Journal of Financial Intermediation, 19, 255-278. Revue avec comité de lecture

Fehr E., Brown M. ; Zehnder C. (2009). On Reputation - A Microfoundation of Contract Enforcement and Price Rigidity. The Economic Journal, 119, 333-353. Revue avec comité de lecture

Fehr E., Goette L. ; Zehnder C. (2009). A Behavioral Account of the Labor Market: The Role of Fairness Concerns. Annual Review of Economics, 1, 355-384. Revue avec comité de lecture

Fehr E., Hart O. ; Zehnder C. (2009). Contracts, Reference Points, and Competition - Behavioral Effects of the Fundamental Transformation. Journal of the European Economic Association, 7, 561-572. Revue avec comité de lecture

Brown M. , Zehnder C. (2007). Credit Registries, Relationship Banking and Loan Repayment. Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, 39, 1883-1918. Revue avec comité de lecture

Falk A., Fehr E. ; Zehnder C. (2006). Fairness Perceptions and Reservation Wages - The Behavioral Effects of Minimum Wage Laws. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 121, 1347-1381. Revue avec comité de lecture

Parties de livre

Foray D., Grieder M., Lalive R. ; Zehnder C. (2013). Peux-tu me dire si je dois lire cet article? Une introduction théorique et expérimentale à l'évaluation de la recherche par les non-scientifiques. Penser la valeur d'usage des sciences (pp. 199-212). Paris: Editions des archives contemporaines.

Zehnder C. (2011). A behavioral view of employment: The role of fairness for motivation. Responsible management practices for the 21st century. Pearson Education, Paris.

Fehr E., Goette L. ; Zehnder C. (2009). The Behavioral Economics of the Labor Market: Central Findings and Their Policy Implications. Policymaking Insight From Behavioral Economics (pp. 355-384). Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts.

Fehr E. , Zehnder C. (2009). Altruism (Economics perspective). The Oxford Companion to Emotion and the Affective Sciences (pp. 24-26). Oxford University Press.

Fehr E. , Zehnder C. (2009). Trust. The Oxford Companion to Emotion and the Affective Sciences (pp. 392-393). Oxford University Press.


Bartling B., Grieder M. ; Zehnder C. (2015). Does Competition Justify Inequality?. University of Lausanne.

Falk Armin , Zehnder Christian (2009). Discrimination and In-group Favoritism in a Citywide Trust Experiment. University of Lausanne.

Fehr Ernst , Zehnder Christian (2009). Reputation and Credit Market Formation: How Relational Incentives and Legal Contract Enforcement Interact. University of Lausanne.

Fehr E., Hart O.D. ; Zehnder C. (2008). Contracts as Reference Points - Experimental Evidence. NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research).


Zehnder C., Fehr E. & Schmutzler A. (Dir.) (2005). Reciprocity, Reputation and Performance. Universität Zürich.



2001 - 2005
Phd in Economics at the University of Zurich (with Ernst Fehr)

1996 - 2001
Studies of Economics at the University of Zurich (Master degree)

1992 - 1996
Maturity (Type E - Business and Economics) at the Kantonsschule Baden

Expériences professionnelles

2008 - present
Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior and Decision Making, University of Lausanne

2007 - 2008
PostDoc in Organizational Economics, Harvard Business School

2007 - 2008
Visiting Scholar, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

2006 - 2007
Assistant Professor (Oberassistent), University of Zurich

2001 - 2005
Research and Teaching Assistant, University of Zurich (with Ernst Fehr)


  • corportement organisationnel
  • economie des contrats
  • effet psychologique de salaires minimum
  • le rôle de la confiance et justice dans les organisations
  • salaire et motivation


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