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5IE576 / HP906 – Institutions, Evolution, and Economic Policies

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Central questions of the course

How can an economy be helped, and not harmed, by its government? How to value the state of economies, and thus distinguish help from harm? What may be the causes of, and possible remedies for, economic difficulties and crises? How does an economy’s performance depend on its population’s culture(s)? How may economic evolution possibly continue?


When and where:

April 3 – 18, 2013 / in this period every of  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

room NB 304

starting at 5 pm

Schedule Summer Semester 2013

After noting the oversimplifications of standard economics that have made it mistaken on so many policy issues, the course argues that safe policy analysis must include selected chapters of modern institutional, evolutionary, and behavioral economics.   The argument is structured as follows:

  • A renovated political economy: evolutionary, institutional, and for people as they are
  • An evolutionary view of human economies
  • Real-world humans as economic agents
  • National economies: anatomy and typology
  • How an economy works, develops and evolves
  • What can go wrong and why
  • How governments can, and how they cannot, help
  • Possible futures of human economies


All the course literature is in English, but if no foreign students are present, the presentation and discussion may be in Czech. To obtain grades, students will need to write a short essay on a relevant topic of their own choice approved by the lecturer, and briefly answer a few control questions, also in written, no later than two weeks before they need the grade registered.


Z         Cosmides, Leda and John Tooby, 1997:  Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer.
URL: http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/primer.html
Z         North, Douglass C. 1991. „Institutions.“ Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5(1): 97-112.
DOI: 10.1257/jep.5.1.97  URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.5.1.97
Z         Nelson, Richard R., and Sidney G. Winter. 2002. „Evolutionary Theorizing in Economics.“ Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(2): 23-46.
DOI: 10.1257/0895330027247 URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/0895330027247
Z         Pelikan, P. (2010), The Government Economic Agenda in a Society of Unequally Rational Individuals.“  Kyklos, vol. 63, č. 2, s. 231–255. ISSN 0023-5962.
Z         Pelikan, P. (2011), “Evolutionary developmental economics: how to generalize Darwinism fruitfully to help comprehend economic change,“ Journal of Evolutionary Economics 21: 341-366.D         Beinhocker, E.D. (2006), The Origin of Wealth, Random House: London (especially Part 1 and Chapter 18).
D         Harford, T. (2011), Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, Little & Brown: London.
D         Hayek, Friedrich A. (1973), Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 2, Rules and Orders.
D         Dawkins, R. (1976), The Selfish Gene, Paladin: London.
D         Pelikan, P. (1992), “The Dynamics of economic systems or how to transform a failed socialist economy,” Journal of Evolutionary Economics 2, 39-63.
D         Pelikan, P. (1999).  Institutions for the selection of entrepreneurs: implications for economic growth and financial crises, IUI  Working Paper 510.  Stockholm
URL:  http://swopec.hhs.se/iuiwop/abs/iuiwop0510.htm
D         Vanberg, Victor J. (1994), Rules and choice in economics, London [etc.] Routledge 

Sign up for the course via ISIS (Mimosemestrální kurzy / Extra-semestral courses).