The Max Planck Institute of Economics was established in Jena on September 1, 1993 as the first institute of economic science of the Max Planck Society. While its original research focus was the transformation of a formerly socialist national economy, the institute now concerns itself with a broader spectrum of questions such as economic change in general, experimental economics, as well as business behaviour. It is organized into two research units, the Evolutionary Economics Group (director: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Witt) and the Strategic Interaction Group (director: Prof. Dr. Werner Güth).
The admission and care of national and international contacts are important principles of the institute. The international and national co-operation with other researchers, universities and research establishments is reflected through several joint projects as well as the exchange of scientific research through events such as talks, conferences, and workshops.
Moreover, the institute has established numerous training meetings and support for junior scientists. It takes part in the recently established Jena Graduate School Human Behavior in Social and Economic Change at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. Integrated in this framework, the institute has established two graduate programs in cooperation with a variety of scientific partners: The International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World (IMPRS Uncertainty) and the doctoral program "The Economics of Innovative Change".