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Center for Economic Studies (CES)

Image Center for Economic Studies (CES)

CES is an independent institute within the Faculty of Economics of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, founded by Hans-Werner Sinn. It brings together economists from all over the world for discussion and exchange of knowledge and ideas and promotes contacts with their Munich colleagues. Its academic activities are supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board, currently chaired by Rick van der Ploeg.

Aims and Purposes

CES invites visiting professors and scholars to do their research in Munich and to teach in the faculty's graduate programme. Since the institute was founded in 1991, more than 800 long term visitors came to Munich. These visitors set the basis for the CESifo Research Network. The combined international expertise of the council members guidelines the Center's visiting scholars programme.

Since its foundation, CES has substantially enlarged its own research group. Its research concentrates on Public Finance aspects of the economy, but includes many diverging fields of economics.

Every year around Thanksgiving, CES awards a "Distinguished CES Fellowship" to an internationally outstanding economist, who then gives the "Munich Lectures in Economics" in the great hall of the university. The prize winners list includes many renowned economists among them five Nobel Laureates. Their lectures are published in CES' own book series with the MIT Press. CES is also a co-publisher of Economic Policy, Europe's leading scientific journal in the field.


CES resulted from a counter-offer the Bavarian Ministry of Education made to Hans-Werner Sinn in 1988. It was intended to serve as a visitors' center for academic economists invited from all over the world for research and teaching in Munich. It was officially founded on 18 January 1991 and welcomed its first visitors - among them Gary Becker, David Bradford, Richard Musgrave, and David Wildasin - in April of the same year. Further developments in 1993 paved the way to today's status quo, providing CES with additional guest apartments and making attendance at CES lectures obligatory for doctoral students in economics. In 1994, CES became a co-publisher of Economic Policy, Europe's leading scientific journal in that field. 1994 also saw the birth of the Munich Lectures in Economics, which were given that year by the first Distinguished CES Fellow, Avinash Dixit. Since then these events have become an integral part of the academic life of the economics department and the list of the previous prize winners includes such renowned personalities as Tony Atkinson (deceased January 2017), Jean Tirole (Nobel Laureate 2014), Paul Krugman (Nobel Laureate 2008), Rudi Dornbusch (deceased 2002), Guido Tabellini, Peter Diamond (Nobel Laureate 2010), Oliver Hart (Nobel Laureate 2016), Nicholas Stern, James Poterba, Andrei Shleifer, Bruno Frey, Alberto Alesina, Philippe Aghion, Olivier Blanchard, Robin Boadway, Richard Blundell, Partha Dasgupta, Esther Duflo, Ernst Fehr, Kenneth Rogoff, Daron Acemoglu, and Bengt Holmstrom (Nobel Laureate 2016). Their lectures also appear in a book series published with MIT press.

In 1998, CES became one of the first institutions world-wide to offer the opportunity to join its community of economic discussion virtually via the internet. The Munich Lectures in Economics as well as other outstanding seminars can be easily watched as internet video lectures.

In the same year the Center also substantially enlarged its own in-house research group producing a sustainable and constant stream of first-class economics research, published in international refereed journals.

Yet this is not the end of the story. Since 1999 CES has been in close cooperation with the Ifo Institute, an independent, non-profit organisation focussing on empirical policy studies. Both institutes now meet under an umbrella organisation, the CESifo Group, to build bridges between theoretical and empirical economic investigation and between researchers from all over the world. This is the new starting point for the next decade of cutting-edge international economic research in Munich.

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