SOEP Awards

Sixth Felix Büchel Award 2016

On June 23, 2016, at the 12th International SOEP User Conference at the WZB in Berlin, the sixth Felix Büchel Award was awarded to Rainer Winkelmann.

Felix Büchel Award 2016
Prof. Rainer Winkelmann, Chair of Department of Economics at University of Zurich
Photo: Alfred Gutzler

Jenny Hunt, last award winner, introduced Rainer Winkelmann and his work to the audience:

"It is my privilege to make history today by presenting the Sixth Felix Büchel Award to a rock climber and mountain runner: Prof. Rainer Winkelmann. He is not merely a chalk-carrying professor of economics; he’s an international, chalk-wielding adventurer.

Professor Winkelmann’s education spanned three countries:

  • Université de Paris-Dauphiné
  • Universität Konstanz
  • Washington University in St. Louis (Master’s)
  • University of Munich (PhD)

Both as a visiting and a regular professor, Professor Winkelmann’s expertise and wisdom have been sought by universities in:

  • Munich and Zurich;
  • Luzern and Los Angeles;
  • Bonn, Syracuse, and Cambridge, Massachusetts;
  • New Zealand and New Hampshire.

Professor Winkelmann has made key contributions to economic research in several areas. He is an

  • Econometrician whose specialty is count data, and who has two successful textbooks.
  • Analyst of happiness: first scholar (with co-author Liliana Winkelmann) to show decisively that unemployment causally makes men unhappy, and by how much,– this paper has been cited 1500 times (Google Scholar)!
  • Contributor of important studies of overlooked small countries in which he has lived: for example, the degree to which language is a barrier to the integration of labor markets in Switzerland
  • Health economist
  • Scholar of training and the apprenticeship system


The quality and quantity of his research can be summarized by the so-called h-index: He has 39 articles that have been cited more than 39 times in Google Scholar, which is a remarkable feat, and total citations of 7,408. 

And, nearly every step along his professional journey, Professor Winkelmann has turned to SOEP.

But skilled mountaineers do not waste time focusing on how far they have come, they just keep aiming higher.

Through his contributions to SOEP, Professor Winkelmann has been a reliable guide to his colleagues.  He has served as:

  • A member of the SOEP Survey Committee from 2010-2016; and
  • An invited guest advisor for the Leibniz Association evaluation of SOEP in 2012.

He will also serve on the DIW Scientific Advisory Board. 

Successful climbers also rely on their own personal rock to stay grounded during difficult times. As Professor Winkelmann explores happiness, health and wellbeing, it is worth noting that his partner in life and research, Liliana Winkelmann, is also here.

Professor Winkelmann continues to scale mountains. 

For his tremendous contributions to the field; for his energetic, passionate pursuit of knowledge; for masterfully using SOEP data to reveal truths about our world; Professor Winkelmann has earned the Felix Büchel Award."

From left to right: Jenny Hunt, Rainer Winkelmann, Jürgen Schupp: Felix Büchel Award 2016
Photo: Alfred Gutzler