Ockenfels received his Diplom in economics from the University of Bonn in 1994, where he studied under Reinhard Selten.
He is professor of economics at the University of Cologne. He also is Director of the Cologne Laboratory of Economic Research, Speaker of the "University of Cologne Excellence Center for Social and Economic Behavior " (C-SEB), and Coordinator of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) research unit "Design & Behavior". He earned his doctoral degree in economics from the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg in 1998, where his doctoral advisor was Joachim Weimann.
Renowned for his research on behavioral and design economics, Ockenfels is considered one of most influential German economists, both in fundamental research and in practical market design.
He publishes in leading journals in economics, but also in business administration, information systems, psychology, and sociology, as well as in application-oriented outlets. His "Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition" (co-authored with Gary East Bolton) is one of the most cited papers in economics.
North Rhine-Westphalia Academy for Sciences and Arts. Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities]
Ockenfels is a Member of the Berlin-Brandenburgische and of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, the Academic Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, and Contributing Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).