The Radein Society advances and promotes scientific research in the field of the constitution and structure of the economy and society. It focusses on the analysis and comparison of economic systems and institutions.

In June 1978, the Radein Society for the Comparative Study of Economic and Social Systems was founded at Marburg University. The Radein Society is in charge of organizing Radein seminars and other scientific events. For ten years, Ingomar Bog headed the society. In 1988 Dieter Cassel became chairman. He was followed by Joerg Thieme in 1997, Karl Hans Hartwig in 2007, and Dirk Wentzel in 2013.

The aim of the Radein Society is the advancement of scientific research in the field of institutional and constitutional economics (in Germany referred to as “Ordnungspolitik”). In order to achieve this, the Radein Society is organizing scientific conferences – in particular the Radein Seminars - and is publishing the results, most of them in the publishing series “Schriftenreihe zu Ordnungsfragen der Wirtschaft”.

The Radein Society is a non-profit organization. Its means can only be spent in line with its stated aims. The society is financed by member fees, donations, and grants. Its non-profit status has been formally acknowledged by the tax office Ettlingen.


Origin AND HISTORY of the Radein Seminar


In February 1967, Professor K. Paul Hensel (Director of the Research Center for the Comparison of Economic Systems at Marburg University) and Professor Ingomar Bog (Director of the Seminar for Social and Economic History at Marburg University) gathered with their PhD students in Alpach in Tyrol. For two weeks, they discussed new insights and approaches in theoretical and historical socio-economic analysis. This first seminar was a huge success and the participants were eager to have another seminar in the following year. In particular they valued the distance from the normal day-to-day university activities, the close relationship between professors and students and the possibility to look beyond the borders of one’s own specialization. Radein seminars were interdisciplinary long before this became a new trend in modern economics.

It was a lucky coincidence that led K. Paul Hensel in the following year to Radein, a tiny mountain village in South Tyrol near Bozen which was connected to the rest of the world by a narrow road passable only by jeep or tractor. Hensel was convinced that this was an ideal place for the continuation of the seminar. Since 1968 this place has provided a fantastic environment for open and productive discussions with participants from countries all over the world, many different universities and faculties, old and young. Each year they met for one week now for an open scientific discussion at the hotel 'Zirmerhof'.

In Radein, not only economists are participating, but also economic historians and legal scholars. They all belong to the group of “Radeiners”. Discussions are focused on the core issue of K. Paul Hensel’s work: comparative analysis of economic and social systems, of course today with many current questions and modern methodologies and applications. This topic is broad enough to motivate scholars to participate in discussions that often cross normal dividing lines between the faculties. Today, the topics are dealing with current research questions in economics, e.g. in the field of European integration, competition economics, finance, monetary policy, media economics, international organizations, behavioral economics, and more.

Over time, Hensel’s PhD students advanced their own careers as academics or practitioners, spreading out to many places in Germany, Europe, and in the World. They came back to the seminar with colleagues and students and in this way extended its range. After Hensel’s death in 1975, they all decided that this unique seminar should be continued: That is why they founded the Radein Society. 2017, the Radein Society celebrated its fiftieth birthday which made it the longest existing think tank in institutional economics in Germany and Europe.

Today, the annual Radein conference assembles up to 50 researchers and practitioners from many countries. Regular participants are those researchers that follow the tradition of K. Paul Hensel in modern interpretation. In addition, depending on the topic, various German and foreign researchers, as well as representatives from the political sector and the corporate world, are participating.

The seminars of the past have formed the basis for a large number of publications. Most of them were published in the “Schriftenreihe zu Ordnungsfragen der Wirtschaft” which was also founded by Hensel in 1954. Editor in chief today is Dirk Wentzel. The publications can be ordered from De Gruyter via this link.


For more information please contact our Research Assistant or Chairman!