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Re: 4, it applies in Romania too. And in many other places. It can be an emotional win, but as a practical matter, it doesn't change much.

Surprisingly, some of the opposition to the practice of calling libertarians "liberals" comes from "mainstream" liberals, who leech on the traditional party name, who are less "principled" and who engage in mainstream political... whoring (!?).

Just a detail: the libertarians actually "rule" one of the five faculties of the Prague University of Economics (the other four faculties teach management, IT etc). But that does not affect the fact that they do a pretty amazing job.


I taught in the Czech Republic for many years in the summer and I have sponsored both Josef and Dan as visiting scholars here at GMU. You are 100% correct. It is a very exciting economic scene in the Czech Republic. I would strongly encourage students in Europe to think about the Prague University of Economics as an option for their PhD studies.


I am sorry, but I am completely confused by this post. I am Czech, lived and studied in Prague for ten years, went through an undergrad and graduate program (at CERGE-EI) in economics in Prague, and yet I haven't heard about any "Prague University".

Which university are you talking about? I can't even google it up!

Talking about "prestige" and "exciting scene", I could write long stories, but I would first like to clarify, what institution are we talking about.


Very interested to read your comment.

I found the University website:


Would be interested to hear your thoughts.

/Dan Klein (dklein@gmu.edu)

I´m afraid this comment written by Pinus was meant ironically. I´m also from Prague and I study at the University of Economics. Pinus, of course, knows this university. Students from other particularly technical and mathematical universities usually laugh to students from the University of Economics because math here is not so advanced and the university is known (which is not always true) as easy to go through. That´s all the story. Don´t bother with Pinus:-)

Petr, sorry to disappoint you, but I am actually a University of Economics graduate (graduated in 2001), and I enjoyed the undergrad program there. What you have in mind is the laughable teasing between undergrad students of mathematics or natural sciences and those of economics, where the math students call the University of Economics the "toughest high school in Prague". This is just funny undergrad teasing, and has nothing to do with what I wrote.

What I was writing about is the quality of the PhD program at the University of Economics, and the quality of academic research in international comparison. Try to read for instance these papers to see how our alma mater fares within the Czech Republic:


CLARIFICATION OF THE CZECH ECON SCENE: I am grateful to Jaroslav “Pinus” Borovicka for his instructive and good natured commentary about my post. We have corresponded by email.

What I learn from Jaroslav does not really alter the impressions I received from my new friends in CZ, but makes me realize that my post was a bit misleading.

The school is The University of Economics, Prague. Sorry for creating confusion by calling it “Prague University.”

The school is indeed a large, old, established major cultural institution in the life of Prague and the Czech Republic. It runs very large undergraduate programs and numerous PhD programs.

But things are different in CZ — which is what I was trying to convey. Jaroslav explained that the PhD degree has often functioned as a signal of seriousness, intelligence, and competence among professional people, rather like an MBA.

The liberal leaders of the school, such as Schwarz and Sima, are helping to bring an old large state institution into a more modern mode, including the transformation of the PhD programs and a more scholarly purpose. The liberal economists are terrifically productive in advancing the intellectual life, including their own scholarship, translations, and a new journal, New Perspectives on Political Economy.

In comparing the University of Economics to the Stockholm School of Economics, I meant to highlight the likeness in producing a large number of graduates (at all levels) who flow into careers in business, government, educational, and journalism, throughout the social life of the city and country.

What is exceptional about CZ is that there is a general lack of “mainstream” Econ hegemony. That is why the was open for liberals to assume leadership.

Hats off to them for bringing good economic scholarship and education into the fold of a major cultural institution.

I was mistaken by your comment, Pinus, because it seemed to be ironic. Understanding better what you have been talking about I apologize for my reaction. I briefly read through pasted references. I am aware of this problematic situation considering international position of the University of Economics in Prague even though I think there is a strong will to change this situation on our faculty (of Economics and Public Administration).

Petr, no bad feelings. Traditionally, the University of Economics has focused on undergrad teaching, while research and PhD programs have been marginalized (as you could see from the comparisons in the papers I linked). I really welcome any attempt of the University of Economics to establish itself also as a serious research institution - it is a very long and hard way to go, but it is worth it.

It is the same in Romania and I believe in holds true for all Central and East Europe : liberal means liberal although sometimes the parties that call themselves liberal in this areas can have a bad influence on the meaning of the words; also there is no hegemonic mainstream, in economics or in almost anything else - the academic scene is there for the taking.

It is amusing to read about our little Czech disputes at this blog :) I think it is a bit unfair from Pinus to compare Faculty of Economics and Public Administration at University of Economics (UEP) to CERGE (with its excellent research outputs) from at least three reasons:

1) to a large extent it reflects the gap between Austrian economists vs. mainstream economists regarding their publications in mainstream econ journals in general. As far as I know, CERGE does mainly econometric and neoclassical economics.

2) though the number of econ journals accepting pure Austrian papers is increasing, many of us in Prague are quite busy with re-organizing the Faculty, which was in terrible shape after we "inherited" it. This, unfortunately, impairs our abilities to do research.

3) CERGE is a special institution of the Charles University devoted mainly to top research. UEP does not have anything like that. CERGE also has wider international connections, longer history and larger amount of accumulated human and social capital - this is not easy to change overnight.

Maybe also a small clarification of the confusion about the name of the school. The Czech name of the school is Vysoka skola ekonomicka, which - literally translated - means High School of Economics ("high school" in Czech refers to a university-level school, but not providing universal education in all fields as a university). There are two ways of translating this into English - the official way is "University of Economics in Prague" which is very odd and somewhat contradictory (if it is "university", why it is not universal, but just for economics?). Another way is "Prague School of Economics", which is more telling. Some people use both (because they do not like the first one) and that is what creates the confusion. It would take a lot of red tape business and negotiation in order to change this apparent nonsense - let it be an illustration of how this state - and in many respects still socialist - institution works.

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