The Institute of Sociology at the University of Zurich aims to fill several research positions.

We are looking for 1 Doctoral student (60%) and 2 Post-Doctoral researchers (75-100%)

interested in joining the newly founded Professorship of Social Theory and Quantitative Methods of Prof. Dr. Heiko Rauhut. The group is interested in theory-guided quantitative research on social norms, cooperation, experimental game theory, analytical sociology, network analysis, stochastic actor network models, sociology of science, survey methodology and statistical modeling. The positions are funded by the SNSF Starting Grant “Social norms, cooperation and conflict in scientific collaborations” (CONCISE), the SNSF project “Coevolution of prosociality and networks: A longitudinal, cross-country network survey in Swiss schools” and by the University of Zurich. Applicants should hold a MA / PhD (or should be close to completion) in Sociology or a related field (such as Behavioral or Experimental Economics, Social Psychology, Political Science, Statistics or Computational Social Science).


We are particularly interested in attracting candidates in the following 2 research areas: 1) Experimental and behavioral research on cooperation and social norms 2) Co-evolution of social networks and prosociality. Details of these research areas and the research profile of the professorship is found at Other research topics, especially in the areas of experimental game theory and analytical sociology, are also welcome, but should have a strong connection to the general profile of the professorship.


We offer a stimulating, dynamic and research-oriented environment. We are looking for creative, prosocial and proactive candidates. Support in teaching and research activities of the chair is expected. Post-docs are expected to support the chair in supervision of PhD and MA students and in administrative tasks. After a trial period, post-doc positions are initially limited to 3 years and PhD positions to 4 years (with an extension to max. 6 years, subject to funding).


Please send your application including a statement of interest, CV, transcripts, 2 samples of written work and 2 letters of recommendation or alternatively contact details of two referees in one pdf file until 15.1.2017 to Heiko Rauhut via jobs[at] 

Research Area 1: Experimental and behavioral research on cooperation and social norms in surveys, representative studies and in the field

In the last twenty years, there has been a dramatic change in the literature on social norms and cooperation. In a large number of behavioral experiments, it has been shown that people are amazingly cooperative and prosocial (Camerer 2003). People are also willing to adhere to norms of cooperation towards strangers, even if it requires effort, expenditures and time (Bowles and Gintis 2011). Social norms of cooperation, prosociality and social preferences are crucial for explaining many social structures and institutions. However, most of these studies are conducted with non-representative convenience samples, mostly using students (see e.g. the critique by Henrich et al. 2006). Moreover, most existing measures of cooperation norms focus only on prosocial preferences, one of the most prominent being the social value orientation slider measure (Murphy et al. 2011). This neglects other crucial elements of cooperation norms, especially beliefs about others’ prosociality and norms of what ought to be done. This project aims at developing a scale of cooperation norms, pretesting it (e.g. at M-Turk) and implementing it in large-scale surveys. So far, we have built up collaborations with two large scale panel surveys. We have also built up a repository of various studies of the social value orientation slider measure, including a panel on M-turk. Work could also implement behavioral experiments in surveys or use related designs, such as lab-in-the-field experiments. 

Research Area 2: Co-evolution of social networks and cooperation

The literature on the evolution of cooperation agrees that cooperation requires a mechanism providing information about preferences, beliefs and opportunities of other interaction partners (Efferson et al. 2016). Direct reciprocity (Gouldner 1960, Axelrod 1984) and indirect reciprocity (Molm et al. 2007) are established mechanisms of cooperation; however, even strangers cooperate when reciprocal behavior is impossible or cannot generate future benefits (Fehr & Gintis 2007). An open research question is whether the selection of network partners could be an effective mechanism of cooperation. We have collected three waves of large-scale multi-level network panel data of Swiss school classes. Prosociality was measured using the monetarily incentivized social value orientation (SVO) slider measure (Murphy et al. 2011). In addition, we have measured social norms, using dictator game giving and beliefs what should be done and what others do. In addition, the complete networks of the pupils in their classes are measured on different dimensions. This data allows investigating a great variety of interesting questions, such as whether prosocial pupils are more likely to interact with other prosocials and whether they are more popular partners in their network. The statistical analysis requires panel-network analysis, such as stochastic actor-oriented models. Ideally, the research would combine the panel data with other research designs, such as experiments. This panel-network survey project is part of the Values in Schools Project of the University Research Priority Program (URPP) on Social Networks (