University of Marburg

University of Marburg, Working Group Sustainable Use of Natural Resources (UMR)

Philipps-Universität Marburg, which is almost 500 years old, is the oldest and most traditional university in the state of Hessen and considers itself to be a classical university offering a full range of courses with a modern approach. Its broad range of arts and humanities, and its experimentally challenging scientific work, constitute an ideal platform for interdisciplinary cooperation.

The economics department in Marburg is also characterized by an interdisciplinary approach and there is joint work taking place with researchers from fields as different as Law, Biology, Psychology, Geography, Sociology or Philosophy. This interdisciplinary framework is very helpful in the context of the sustainable use of renewable natural resources, as many relevant issues are to be found outside the typical area covered by economics. Finally, we have a long-standing tradition in the field of development economics, which includes many partnerships outside Marburg, both with other research organizations as well as policy agencies with a regional focus on Africa and Asia. All economics professors have a strong research focus on the field of institutional economics. The institutional economics research efforts are coordinated within the Marburg Centre for Institutional Economics (MACIE), which also includes colleagues from our business administration group.


Prof. Dr. Björn Vollan

Since 2015, Björn Vollan is the Robert Bosch Junior Professor for Sustainable Use of Natural Resources at the Economics Department of the University of Marburg where he builds a new research group that particularly deals with impact of climate change on human behavior in developing countries.

In the past, he was Assistant Professor at University Innsbruck, Department of Public Finance, Research Center Environmental Economics and Regional Development, Research Area “Alpine Space – Man and Environment” where he finished his habilitation “Endogenous preferences and policies: Insights from lab-in-the-field economic experiments carried out in Africa and Asia”. He also was Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Mannheim at the chair of applied Microeconometrics and Evaluation (Prof. Markus Frölich) and obtained his PhD from the University of Marburg within the research project BIOTA Southern Africa “Socio-economic aspects of changes in biodiversity in southern Africa” where he also was subproject administrative coordinator.

His research agenda combines methods and topics from environmental economics, development economics and behavioral economics. More specifically, he applies economic experimental techniques mainly carried out in the field to study questions related to pro-environmental behavior in different contexts and the effectiveness of institutions for governance of natural resources, collective action or risk-sharing networks in developing countries.

Marco Nilgen (MSc)

Marco Nilgen is currently enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Marburg, while working as research and teaching assistant at the Research Group Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, led by Prof. Dr. Björn Vollan. Mr. Nilgen researches at the junction of environmental and development economics, while also applying methods from experimental economics. His specific interests lie in analyzing the impact of conservation and development policies on local resource users, e.g. on different socioeconomic indicators, their valuation of natural resources and sustainable energy sources, as well as cooperation in common-pool problems. As a teacher, Mr. Nilgen is currently active in tutoring undergraduate students in Environmental Economics.

Amongst others, Mr. Nilgen’s past work experiences include an engagement as research assistant at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management’s Economics Department, as well as the organization and implementation of a field-research project in Namibia in cooperation with the University of Hamburg. He holds a MSc in Economics and Institutions from the University of Marburg and a BSc in Economics from the University of Cologne.

Affiliated researcher (University of Göttingen)

Prof. Dr. Andreas Landmann

Prof. Dr. Andreas Landmann is a professor of development economics at University of Göttingen. His work focusses on insurance economics, decisions under risk, prosocial behavior and cooperation in low-income countries.  He received training in development economics and applied econometrics at the University of Toronto and University of Mannheim. After obtaining a PhD in economics from the University of Mannheim, he worked at the Paris School of Economics (PSE), funded by the German Research Foundation.

Andreas Landmann heavily employs randomized control trial (RCT) methodology for impact evaluation. During his time at PSE, he was part of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), which is a global network of more than a hundred top-tier affiliated researchers using randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty. He is furthermore an affiliate of the Center for Evaluation and Development (C4ED), a non-profit organization that provides rigorous policy evaluation in the development sector.

One major research focus is  on health insurance provision in Pakistan, but he also studies insurance policies in other settings. Additionally, he is interested in behavioral research on decisions under risk and uncertainty, as well as prosocial preferences and cooperation. He conducted several large-scale impact evaluations and behavioral experiments in the Philippines, Germany, Vietnam, China and Pakistan, all of them including primary data collection.