Ockenfels received his Diplom in economics from the University of Bonn in 1997, where he studied under Reinhard Selten. 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 game theory and experimental economics, Ockenfels is considered one of most influential German economists and has published in prestigious journals such as the Journal of Public Economics and American Economic Review. His "Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition" (co-authored with Gary E. Bolton) is one of the most cited papers in economics.
- ^ Bolton, Gary E. & Ockenfels, Axel (2000), "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition", American Economic Review (American Economic Association) 90 (1): 166–193, http://www.jstor.org/stable/117286