What are the strengths of our economic system? What are the factors that will determine our future? How are Germany and the European Union to remain competitive as the world changes? These are the questions to which we at the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) endeavour to find answers based on sound scientific research.

The Cologne Institute for Economic Research is a registered association with a membership consisting of some 110 German business and employers' associations as well as a number of individual companies. Membership fees totalling approximately 12 million euros annually finance our regular scientific research and journalism. Additionally, collaborating particularly with other business associations, foundations and public institutions, we conduct research projects and carry out numerous studies financed by third parties.

Through their representation on its governing bodies members affect the general policy of the institute without influencing the content of individual studies or statements. Our research is based on empirical principles and sound scientific methodology. It is independent of individual interests and represents free enterprise in German business for the benefit of society as a whole.

The Institute and its members are united by an awareness that without its socially responsible free market economy our country would not have been able to achieve the prosperity for which it has so successfully striven over the last few decades. Looking to the future, it is equally important that we do nothing to restrict the economic strength of our country, our enterprises and our workforce, our small businesses and the self-employed, but do all in our power to enhance it. For only then can we achieve the level of innovation and economic success which is the basis of a better standard of living. We believe in the power of freedom and responsibility.

And that is why we at the Cologne Institute for Economic Research strive – from conviction and with full commitment – to advance the spirit of free enterprise.