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Economic Systems

Time and Place:

Lecture Mondays, 10-12, HS 108
  Prof. Giacomo Corneo & Prof. Stefan Gosepath
Exercise Thursdays, 14-16, HS 104
  Junbing Zhu

Office Hours:

Prof. Giacomo Corneo by secretarial appointment Giacomo.corneo@fu-berlin.de
Prof. Stefan Gosepath by secretarial appointment Stefan.Gosepath@fu-berlin.de
Junbing Zhu Thursdays, 16-18, Library Junbing.zhu2@fu-berlin.de

This course provides students with an introduction to the study of economic systems. The first, introductory, part will make sense of current fundamental criticisms against capitalism. The second part will focus on the normative underpinnings of the evaluation of economic systems: efficiency, distributive justice, autonomy. The third part of the course will concentrate on several alternative economic systems, developing an analytical and critical view of their fundamental properties. The course grade is defined by a final exam at the end of the semester.

Required Bibliography:

  1. Binmore, Ken. Rationality. In: Handbook of Game Theory 2015.
  2. Corneo, Giacomo. Is Capitalism Obsolete? A Journey through Alternative Economic Systems. Harvard University Press 2017.
  3. Elster, Jon. Sour Grapes. CUP 1983.
  4. Lamont, Julian and Favor, Christi, "Distributive Justice", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
  5. Roemer, John. Theories of Distributive Justice. Harvard University Press 1996.

Recommended Bibliography:

  1. Bernheim, Douglas. “On the potential of neuroeconomics: A sober (but hopeful) appraisal”, AEJ: Microeconomics 1 (2009): 1-41.
  2. Gosepath, Stefan, "Equality", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
  3. Heal, Geoffrey. “Planning Without Prices”, Review of Economic Studies, Vol. 36, No. 3 (July 1969): 53-71.
  4. Knight, Frank. “The Ethics of Competition”, Quarterly Journal of Economics 1922.
  5. Kornai, Janos. The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism. Princeton University Press 1992.
  6. Lange, Oskar. “On the Economic Theory of Socialism, Part One”, Review of Economic Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 (October 1936): 53-71.
  7. Piketty, Thomas. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Harvard University Press 2014.
  8. Stiglitz, Joseph. Economics of the Public Sector.
  9. Wright, Erik Olin. Envisioning Real Utopias. Verso 2010.


Final Exam


Week 1: Capitalism and Its Discontents

08.04.2019, Common Lecture

  • Corneo, Prologue


Week 2: Normative Criteria: Distributive Justice I

15.04.2019, Gosepath, Justice in philosophical thought


Week 3: Easter Monday

22.04.2019, no lecture

Week 4: Normative Criteria: Distributive Justice II

29.04.2019, Gosepath, Utilitarianism and Rawls

  • Roemer, Ch. 4-5


Week 5: Normative Criteria: Distributive Justice III

06.05.2019, Gosepath, Responsibility and egalitarianism

  • Roemer, Ch. 6-7-8


Week 6: Normative Criteria: Autonomy I

13.05.2019, Corneo, Rationality

  • Binmore


Week 7: Normative Criteria: Autonomy II

20.05.2019, Corneo, Judgement

  • Elster, Part I

Week 8: Normative Criteria: Autonomy III

27.05.2019, Corneo, Preferences

  • Elster, Part III


Week 9: Common Ownership

03.06.2019, Corneo

  • Corneo, Ch. 2-4.


Week 10: Pentecost

10.06.2019, no lecture

Week 11: Central Planning

17.06.2019, Corneo

  • Corneo, Ch. 5.


Week 12: Workers Self-Management

24.06.2019, Gosepath

  • Corneo, Ch. 6.


Week 13: Market Socialism

01.07.2019, Corneo

  • Corneo, Ch. 7.

Week 14: Shareholder Socialism, Universal Basic Income

08.07.2019, Corneo

  • Corneo, Ch. 8-9


Research Seminar in Economics
Steuer- und Sozialpolitik bei wachsender Ungleichheit