Professor Nieken

Prof. Dr. Petra Nieken

Short Vita

Prof. Dr. Petra Nieken is the head of the Chair of Human Resource Management at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) since 2014. From 2013 to 2014, Prof. Nieken spent an extended period of time as a visiting scholar at the Economics Department at UC Berkeley. Before joining KIT, she held a research position at the Institute of Applied Microeconomics at the University of Bonn and was part of the DFG Collaborative Research Center “Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems.” She was also an adjunct professor at the University of Stavanger in Norway for several years. She obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Cologne as a scholar of the DFG Research Training Group “Risk Management.” During her Ph.D.-studies, she worked as a research assistant at the Seminar of Personnel Economics and Human Resource Management at the University of Cologne.


Research Interests

Prof. Nieken’s research interests include the future of work, (digital) leadership, and incentives and motivation from an economic perspective. In close cooperation with partners from science and practice, she designs (digital) leadership and cooperation strategies. She investigates employee motivation and performance in the context of new work forms and environments. For example, Prof. Nieken’s work shows which communication strategies and media channels digital leaders should use to address their followers. Furthermore, Prof. Nieken studies ethical behavior in the workplace, selected aspects of gender equality in the labor market, and the influence of communication and information flows on economic decision-making. 
Prof. Nieken applies an interdisciplinary approach and combines organizational and personnel economic approaches with methods from experimental economics. In addition to classical economic laboratory experiments, she conducts field experiments and randomized controlled trials. She regularly publishes her research results in leading scientific journals such as European Economic Review, Experimental Economics, Games and Economic Behavior, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, and The Leadership Quarterly. Her paper “How (not) to motivate online workers: Two controlled field experiments on leadership in the gig economy” has received the prestigious Best Article Award 2021 from The Leadership Quarterly. Prof. Nieken is also the co-spokesperson of the Karlsruhe Decision & Design Lab (KD2Lab) and a member of the editorial board of The Leadership Quarterly.

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Sorted by type of publication

Articles in Refereed Journals

  1. Nieken, P. (forthcoming): Charisma in the Gig Economy: The Impact of Digital Leadership and Communication Channels on Performance, Leadership Quarterly

  2. Huber, C., Dreber, A., Huber, J., +90, Nieken, P. and Holzmeister, F. (2023): Competition and moral behavior: A meta-analysis of forty-five crowd-sourced experimental designs, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), 120 (23) e2215572120

  3. Fest, S., Kvaløy, O., Nieken, P. and Schöttner, A. (2021): How (not) to motivate online workers: Two controlled field experiments on leadership in the gig economy, Leadership Quarterly, 32 (6), 101514

  4. Staudt, P.; Greif-Winzrieth, A. and Nieken, P. (2021). Increasing Contributions to Sustainable-Projects through Digital Nudges amplifying social Comparison, ICIS 2021 Proceedings. 12

  5. Dato, S. and Nieken, P. (2020). Gender Differences in Sabotage: The Role of Uncertainty and Beliefs, Experimental Economics, 23 (2), 353-391
  6. Dato, S., Feess, E. and Nieken, P. (2019). Lying and Reciprocity, Games and Economic Behavior, 118, pp. 193-218
  7. Berger, J. and Nieken, P. (2016). Heterogeneous Contestants and Effort Provision in Tournaments – An Empirical Investigation with Professional Sports Data, Journal of Sports Economics, 17 (7), pp. 631 - 660
  8. Kvaløy, O, Nieken, P. and Schöttner, A. (2015). Hidden Benefits of Reward – A Field Experiment On Motivation and Monetary Incentives, European Economic Review, 76, pp. 188 - 199
  9. Nieken, P. and Sliwka, D. (2015). Management Changes, Reputation, and “Big Bath”-Earnings Management, Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 24 (3), pp. 501 - 522
  10. Kräkel, M. and Nieken, P. (2015). Relative Performance Pay in the Shadow of Crisis, European Economic Review, 74, pp. 244 - 268
  11. Dato, S. and Nieken, P. (2014). Gender Differences in Competition and Sabotage, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 100, pp. 64 - 80
  12. Kräkel, M., Nieken, P. and Przemeck, J. (2014). Risk Taking and Investing in Electoral Competition, European Journal of Political Economy, 33, pp. 98 - 120
  13. Gürtler, O., Münster, J. and Nieken, P. (2013). Information Policy in Tournaments with Sabotage, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 115 (3), pp. 932 - 966
  14. Breuer, K., Nieken, P. and Sliwka, D. (2013). Social Ties and Subjective Performance Evaluations - An Empirical Investigation, Review of Managerial Science, 7 (2), pp. 141 - 157
  15. Nieken, P. and Schmitz, P.W. (2012). Repeated Moral Hazard and Contracts with Memory: A Laboratory Experiment, Games and Economic Behavior, 75 (2), pp. 1000 - 1008
  16. Nieken, P. (2010). On the Choice of Risk and Effort in Tournaments – Experimental Evidence, Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 19 (3), pp. 811 - 840
  17. Nieken, P. and Sliwka, D. (2010). Risk‐Taking in Tournaments – Theory and Experimental Evidence, Journal of Economic Psychology, 31 (3), pp. 254 - 268


Working Papers

  1. Gorny, P. M., Nieken, P. and Ströhlein, K.: The Effects of Gendered Language on Norm Compliance, CESifo Working Paper 10459 2023
  2. Gorny, P. M., Nieken, P. and Ströhlein, K.: He, She, They? The Impact of Gendered Language on Economic Behavior, CESifo Working Paper 10458 2023
  3. Dato, S., Fees, E. and Nieken, P.: Lying in Competitive Environments: A Clean Identification of Behavioral Impacts, CESifo Working Paper 9861 2022
  4. Nieken, P. and Ressi, A.: Which Peer Group to Choose? The Effects of Relative Performance Information on Employee Self-Selection and Performance, SSRN Working Paper,
  5. Nieken, P. and Schmitz, P.W.: Contracting under Asymmetric Information and Externalities: An Experimental Study, CEPR Discussion Paper 15492
  6. Djawadi, B.M. and Nieken, P.: Job Market Chances of Whistleblowers – Is there a Penalty for Whistleblowers in the Labor Market?, mimeo, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  7. Dato, S. and Nieken, P.: Compensation and Honesty: Gender Differences in Lying, mimeo, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  8. Hammermann, A., Mohnen, A. and Nieken, P.: Whom to Choose as a Team Mate? A Lab Experiment about In-Group Favoritism, IZA Discussion Paper No. 6286
  9. Nieken, P., Sadrieh, A. and Zhou, N.: Overconfidence and Managers’ Responsibility Hoarding, SFB TR 15 Discussion Paper No. 368
  10. Nieken, P. and Stegh, M.: Incentive Effects in Asymmetric Tournaments: Empirical Evidence from the German Hockey League, SFB TR 15 Discussion Paper No. 305
  11. Nieken, P. and Störmer, S.: Personality as Predictor of Occupational Choice: Empirical Evidence from Germany, University of Hamburg Discussion Paper No. 8/2010