Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang Franz was born in 1944 and studied economics at the University of Mannheim. Afterwards he worked as a research associate at the University of Mannheim and obtained a doctorate in 1974 on a macroeconometric analysis of the German labour market. As a research fellow Franz spent two years at Harvard and at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. In 1981 he habilitated on the problem of youth unemployment. His career path led him first from a position as professor at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz to the University of Stuttgart in 1984 before he accepted a chair at the University of Konstanz, where he received an award by the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg for outstanding university teaching ("Landeslehrpreis"). Although he was offered chairs at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and Humboldt University in Berlin, Franz stayed in Konstanz until 1 April 1997. He then took on the position of president of the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim and at the same time accepted a chair of economics at the University of Mannheim.
In March 2009 Franz became chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts, which advises the German Government and Parliament on economic policy issues. Franz had already been a member of this advisory body from 1994 till 1999 and was reappointed in 2003. Franz is a member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and also heads the section Economics and Empirical Social Sciences at the Leopoldina, the German Academy of Sciences. Furthermore he is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. He was key advisor for economics at the German Research Foundation (DFG) and co-editor of several magazines on economics. His main research areas are macroeconomics, labour economics, and empirical methods in economics. Franz has published numerous books and scientific articles on these topics. Franz was conferred with an honorary doctorate by both the European Business School (ebs) and the University of Magdeburg in 2003. Furthermore, he was awarded the Order of Merit by the German state of Baden-Württemberg.