Upcoming Events

Forum for Economic Dialogue – 07.11.2016
"The Rise of the Machines"
Zurich, Kaufleuten more
Zurich Lecture of Economics in Society – 07.11.2016
"Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The Past and Future of Workplace Automation"
Zurich, Kaufleuten register here
Inaugural lecture – 12.12.2016
David Hémous: "Innovation and Inequalities"
University of Zurich, Aula more


The number of professors of economics at the University of Zurich has increased substantially from 23 to 30, with a corresponding contribution to research and teaching. Due to this growth of about 30 percent, the Department of Economics has gained a decisive advantage in the international competition between universities. This progress is largely due to the support from the UBS Center. After the University of Zurich appointed the first two of the professorships endowed by the UBS Center last year, two more full professorships, one assistant professorship, and one affiliated professor have now joined the Center and the University.
Media release (PDF)
Research Profiles
NZZ Interview Ernst Fehr (PDF)
(in German)

In a current article in the «Finanz und Wirtschaft», Joachim Voth elaborates on the fact that most people are not only interested in doing well, they rather want to be better off compared to others. For them, the competition among consumers and the related egotism are part of our economic system. Voth discusses whether the positive effect of social comparison does outweigh its downside. Can the resulting higher collective economic performance make up for costs of individual unhappiness, overconsumption and private bankruptcy?

Article in Finanz und Wirtschaft (in German)

Last Thursday – 70 years after Winston Churchill’s historical speech on Europe that took place in the aula at the University of Zurich - Paul Krugman talked about the future of Europe with a focus on fiscal and monetary policies and the European Monetary Union. Krugman’s lecture which was hosted by the UBS Center attracted over 600 people and received considerable media attention. If you missed the speech, you can watch the whole lecture on YouTube.
Video on YouTube
Interview in NZZ
SRF News (in German)
Article in F&W (in German)
Article in Tagesanzeiger (in German)

Will the development of intelligent machines lead to an increase of unemployment in the near future? In a recently published article in Finanz und Wirtschaft, David Dorn gives a clear answer to this question. On the one hand, humans still outdo computers in tasks requiring creativity, decision-making, and problem-solving skills (which remain highly paid) and lower product prices lead to more demand for personal services, on the other hand automation creates jobs on both ends of the income scale. However, this is not true for middle-income jobs, which are mostly affected by automation. Thus, the current phase of automation leads to an increasing income gap.

FuW article (in German)
Public Paper “The Rise of the Machines”

In a recent interview for China’s largest Newspaper «People’s Daily», Fabrizio Zilibotti explains how China is now standing at a historical point in time, moving from an investment and export driven to an innovation driven economy. China’s investments into R&D in relation to its GDP are at a similar level as within the EU, pushing forward the innovation based growth strategy. Professor Zilibotti continues recommending further steps: eliminating entry barriers and breaking up monopolies, loosening financing restrictions for SMEs and further investment into building high-tech industrial parks.

Read the article (in Chinese)

Fabrizio Zilibotti has been invited to hold the Fredric B. Garonzik Lecture at Brown University. Zilibotti will talk about „China at a Turning Point: The Difficult Transition from Investment-Led to Innovation-Led Growth”. The lecture is hosted by the William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance and will take place on Tuesday, September 13, 2016.

Brown University Website

From August 22 to 26, 2016, nearly 1,800 members of the European Economic Association (EEA) and the Econometrics Society (ES) converged to Geneva for the annual EEA-ESEM Congress. Prof. Fabrizio Zilibotti, President of the EEA, held the Presidential Address entitled, “Growing and Slowing Down Like China” on Wednesday evening. In his talk Prof. Zilibotti analyzed the post-reform Chinese growth and explained why the growth in China is set to slow down.

Slides of the Presidential Address Youtube Video

The online-platform U.S. News interviewed Professor David Dorn for their article on the profound impact computers have in the labor market. Dorn explains that by substituting human labor in a wide range of clerical jobs through computers, not only the share of production employment but also the share in the overall employment of clerical occupations is declining since the 1980s. The U.S. government expects to see an 8 percent decline in the bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerk industry sector between 2014 and 2024.

U.S. News online article (in German)

In his recent commentary for the Swiss newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft, Fabrizio Zilibotti explains how Matteo Renzi’s government has come under pressure due to the banking crisis and the opposition party of the comedian, Beppe Grillo. An election victory for Grillo would have fatal consequences for the country, says Zilibotti.

Commentary in FuW (in German)

Fabrizio Zilibotti held this year’s "Walras-Bowley Lecture" during the 2016 North American Meeting of the Econometric Society. The Meeting was hosted by the Wharton School and the Department of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and took place from June 16 to 19, 2016. The "Walras-Bowley Lecture" is an annual lecture given by a non-North-American member at the North American meeting. Former lecturers include, among others, Philippe Aghion, Per Krusell, Andreu Mas-Colell, Nobel Laureate Christopher Pissarides, and Nobel Laureate Jean Tirole.

Conference website

In this edition of the Swiss newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft Professor Voth discusses how index funds are becoming increasingly powerful market forces undermining antitrust regulations. He argues that, given the structure of their portfolios and their influence on multiple companies within an industry, a monopolistic situation is created.

FuW online article (in German)

Ernst Fehr and Roberto Weber from the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich together with Alexander Wagner (Department of Banking and Finance) organized a Workshop on Behavioral Economics of Financial Markets. The two-day workshop brought together leading specialists in the field of behavioral finance to share and debate their latest insights in terms of methodologies and content.

Event website

Nobel Laureate Prof. Robert J. Shiller (Yale University) spoke about "Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception" in his lecture at the University of Zurich. This is also the title of his latest book in which George Akerlof and Robert Shiller argue that "competitive markets by their very nature spawn deception and trickery." In a recent interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, Shiller talks about how companies manipulate their customers and why McDonalds has comparatively high standards thanks to regulations.

Video on YouTube Article Tages-Anzeiger (in German) Article NZZ (in German)

David Dorn discusses changes in the national and international labor market with Brigitta Bernet, an economic historian, in the current edition of the UZH Magazin. There is a long history of people fearing that new technologies would lead to massive unemployment, says Dorn. Surprisingly, despite the fact that computers, the internet and robot-driven machines have been used for decades, many people still have jobs today. In Switzerland, there have never been so many people employed like in the past few years.

UZH Magazin interview (in German)

"Cheap imports from China led to an immense job loss in the US economy," says David Dorn in an interview with the Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag. His research shows that the U.S. regions which were hardest hit by Chinese import competition became much more likely to elect politicians from the far right or far left, thus contributing to the strong ideological polarization of U.S. Congress.

NZZ am Sonntag Interview (in German)

In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, Ernst Fehr talks about his research, the future of the Department of Economics at Zurich, the arrogance of the American elite, and about fairness and influence.

Tagesanzeiger online article (in German)