On this page we summarize recent empirical findings in a clear and accessible style. We provide short-summaries and reports highlighting the main innovations and results of papers accepted by peer-reviewed journals.

We highly welcome submissions of short-summaries and reports of your research to this page. Submissions can be made by both members and non-members of the Akademie (for more information: How to submit a short-report).

Order without law:
Reputation promotes cooperation in a cryptomarket for illegal drugs

Wojtek Przepiorka, Lukas Norbutas, Rense Corten
(Corresponding author:
March 2018

Figure 1:
Reputation effects on item price

  • Motivation: Although the reputation mechanism has been shown to promote cooperation in humans, existing evidence is mostly based on small-scale laboratory experiments or on data obtained from online markets that are embedded in functioning legal systems. It is thus an open question whether reputation can promote cooperation at a large scale and in the absence of legal and moral assurances.
  • Research question: Can reputation formation promote cooperation in a large group of anonymous agents with doubtful intentions?
  • Method: Fixed effects regression based on transaction data from the cryptomarket Silk Road 1.0 with product prices and sales as dependent variable and seller reputations as independent variable. Cryptomarkets are online markets in the so-called Dark Web, which can only be accessed by means of encryption software that conceals users’ identities and locations.
  • Results and conclusions: Sellers’ rating histories affect the behavior of both sellers and buyers. Well-reputed sellers reap market benefits by increasing prices, while sellers with lower reputations decrease their prices to compensate potential buyers for the risk they take when buying from them (Figure 1). We also find that sellers with better reputations sell more goods over the same period of time. Our results challenge the institutional and social embeddedness of agents as necessary preconditions for the emergence of social order in markets.

Przepiorka, Wojtek, Lukas Norbutas and Rense Corten. 2017. „Order without Law: Reputation Promotes Cooperation in a Cryptomarket for Illegal Drugs.“ European Sociological Review 33(6):752-64. doi: 10.1093/esr/jcx072.

Well-Being Depends on Where You Come From:
Some New Results on the Reproduction of Social Inequality

Fabian Kratz, Gerrit Bauer, and Josef Brüderl
Corresponding author:
March 2018


Figure 1: Predicted well-being over the life course
(well-being measured by life satisfaction)

  • Motivation: This study adds two innovations to the literature on social inequality over generations. First, it uses a summary inequality measure (well-being) instead of single inequality dimensions, and secondly it employs a life course perspective instead of a static view.
  • Research questions: (1) Do children of high social origin show higher levels of well-being?
    (2) Does this social origin well-being differential widen over the life course?
  • Method: Random effects growth curves are estimated, using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP v31) covering the years from 1984 to 2014.
  • Results and Conclusions: Classical sociological hypotheses on social reproduction are supported. (1) There is a well-being differential such that high origin offspring is better off already early in life. (2) This well-being differential widens over the life course, meaning that there is a pattern of cumulative (dis-) advantage.

More details can be found in a Short Report or in the published paper:

Kratz, Fabian, Gerrit Bauer and Josef Brüderl (2018) Die Vererbung sozialer Ungleichheit: Ein neuer Ansatz zur Untersuchung einer klassischen soziologischen Frage. S. 71-87 in: M. Giesselmann et al. (eds.) Lebensbedingungen in Deutschland in der Längsschnittperspektive. Wiesbaden: Springer.