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Armin Falk: Merger of Briq and IZA under criticism

Photo: Tim Brakemeier/ picture alliance / dpa

The economist Armin Falk will not take over the leadership of the Bonn Institute for the Future of Work (IZA) after all. Falk has asked the Deutsche Post Foundation to release him with immediate effect and to withdraw his appointment to the top post of IZA, the institution that finances IZA announced.

The request was granted "with regret and great respect for his outstanding scientific achievements". For more than 20 years, Falk has been involved in the science funding of the Deutsche Post Foundation.

Austerity looms

The fact that Falk was to take over the management of the Briq Institute, which he already headed, on January 1, 2024, had led to an outcry among economists. Almost 700 economists had recently publicly opposed the appointment in a letter of protest. On the one hand, there was criticism of the planned merger of Briq and IZA, which was most recently headed by Simon Jäger, who was highly praised in research circles. Many are worried that the merger will lead to the loss of funds.

On the other hand, #MeToo allegations had been made against Falk in 2022. However, IZA refers to an independent investigation in which the allegations have been refuted, and there is talk of full rehabilitation. The University of Bonn also considered him fully exonerated of the accusations made. In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Falk himself rejected the accusations as "completely unfounded". IZA has so far left a SPIEGEL inquiry unanswered and only sent a statement from the Deutsche Post Foundation.

Read here: How a Bonn-based institute became at the center of a global economist uprising

According to the press release, the current CFO of Briq and IZA, Martin T. Clemens, will now assume the administrative management of IZA. Scientific activities in the research areas would be coordinated by the research directors. Addressing the members of the huge IZA research network, the institution writes that it is grateful for their "critical engagement" and hopes for further support of the network.