Thomas Voss, born in Wuppertal-Elberfeld, West Germany, in 1955. Ph.D. from the Universität München. Professor of Sociology at the Universtät Leipzig.
Fellow (1 September 2001 – 30 June 2002)
During my stay at NIAS I was part of the nucleus “The Danger of Community Failure”. My own work within this group focused on micro foundations of solidary behaviour and on the link of the micro foundations to the analysis of solidarity in the field of organisations and inter-organisational relations. I completed the editing work (with A. Diekmann) on a book on Rational Choice Theory (to be published in German in the book series “Scientia Nova” of R. Oldenbourg Verlag, München). Many of the other members of the nucleus contributed papers to this book which were discussed and completed at NIAS.
My other research was about social norms with sanctions. I use elementary tools of rational choice theory (game theory) to explore the normative foundations of solidarity. In particular, my work shows that social norms with sanctions are, under certain conditions, outcomes of social interactions among rational agents. At NIAS I was able to work on papers that refer to this approach and that investigate the role of non-standard motivational assumptions (of fairness and reciprocity) in explaining how threats to apply costly sanctions become credible. I also worked on rational choice explanations of organizational governance structures and completed papers that aim to demonstrate the merits of a game theoretic approach to explain inter-organizational relations and vertical integration. This work is connected with empirical research on inter-firm relations that I have undertaken in recent years. At NIAS, I was able to complete a research report and to make concrete plans for publications of papers that present results of the data analyses