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Prof. Dr. Pia Pinger

Cluster position Principal Investigator, Cologne Spokesperson for ECONtribute

Cluster member since 2019

Research Areas

Main research topics

Human capital, socioeconomic inequalities


Pia Pinger has been a Professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Cologne since 2019. Before her junior professorship at the University of Bonn, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Mannheim in 2013. Her main research interests revolve around the formation of human capital and socioeconomic inequalities. She is an IZA Research Fellow, CESifo Affiliate, and closely affiliated with the Institute on Behavior and Inequality (briq).


What is the best thing about your job?

Always learning new things and being surrounded by interested people who want to extend their knowledge as well.

If you had not gone into research, what would you be doing today?

I would have become a teacher. At first, I was afraid of having to work alone most of the time in research – now with my kids at home, I’m quite happy to sit alone in the office sometimes.

Who or what inspires you?

Reading newspapers, I like to immerse myself in completely different social situations. It also inspires me to reflect on current research topics with my colleagues.

When was the last time you had to change your mind?

Constantly! Research means being confronted with problems where nobody knows how to solve them – research is like an intellectual striptease.

Which advice would you have needed yourself as a doctoral student?

You have to become your own intellectual personality. You shouldn’t do research to please your supervisor and get a good grade, but because you are convinced of your work, that’s the only way you can stand criticism.