New approaches in economics

The Excellence Foundation Zurich has set the goal of attracting the best scientists and academics in the world to the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich and to provide them the best prerequisites for interdisciplinary research at the highest level.

The Department of Economics at the University of Zurich has compiled a list of potential research areas that can be studied using innovative, interdisciplinary approaches.

Professorship in the Economics of Ethics & Corporate Culture

Understanding the role of ethics and social culture in economics is a growing need. With the growing influence of private enterprise on society, managers must increasingly reflect on the consequences of their actions for their customers and for society as a whole. The complexity and importance of ethical considerations have grown in the wake of globalization: international markets are increasingly cross-linked, and there is a rapid increase in technological innovation.

For example, modern managers must ask themselves what responsibilities their company bears with respect to consumers when data protection is at stake. How can an organization attain an excellent reputation with its customers and stakeholders?


Professorship in the Economics of Competition & Regulation

Some of the most important sectors of the economy (electricity, gas, telecommunications, rail travel, and postal services) are government monopolies when viewed from a historical point of view. Increasing privatization in these industries poses some questions. How should networked industries be organized? How much privatization is necessary? Which networked industries should be liberalized? How should the remaining monopolies be regulated in order to maximize the welfare of society?

The design of competition in product markets is another important theme where robust empirical knowledge is still absent. Competition has increased rapidly in the past twenty years due to globalization, liberalization, and the outsourcing of public services. How do these changes affect the welfare of consumers and employees? What are the long-term effects in terms of economic growth?

Professorship in the Economics of Consumer & Market Behavior

An understanding of individuals’ behavior is of great importance in many economic settings. How do consumers choose between various products? How do individuals divide their assets between consuming and saving for retirement?

Economic theories and empirical methods provide useful insights into how these decisions are made and how the decisions of several individuals in a group can affect the broader behavior of markets. Recently, behavioral economists have begun reaching a deeper understanding of consumer and market behavior, drawing from psychology and integrating this knowledge into existing economic approaches and analyses.


Professorship for Climate Economics

For more than two decades, climate change has been regarded as one of the most important problems humanity faces going forward. More than almost any other environmental problem, dealing with this major challenge requires interdisciplinary efforts. Alongside the natural sciences, the economic sciences also have a key role to play. The new Professorship for Climate Economics can make a substantial contribution toward answering one of the pivotal questions of our time: what do we do about climate change?


Professorship in the Economics of Human Capital Development

How, and at what age, does the development of certain skills and abilities have to be developed? How can learning settings be designed to enable social inequalities to be tackled early on? How can life-long learning be encouraged, and what role do employers play in this?

Recent research suggests that formal education in the narrowest sense does not cover all the key areas in terms of efficiently developing and harnessing human capital. Every person goes through various processes of learning and maturing in the course of their life. These processes have to be supported from the outset, by parents, by the formal education system, and by employers. This means that gaining broader insights into education as a life-long learning process that starts in early childhood and lasts a lifetime is key to ensuring a prosperous society.



Attracting young scientific talent to Zurich

Scholarships for the Excellence Foundation Zurich are awarded to candidates who draw attention to themselves with excellent academic performance. The scholarship requires a continuous and successful course of studies. Acceptance at the Zurich Graduate School of Economics or the Marlene Porsche Graduate School of Neuroeconomics is a prerequisite for a scholarship from the Excellence Foundation Zurich.

Applications of all students for the graduate studies program in economics or neuroeconomics at the University of Zurich are processed in a central office. Applicants must complete the application form on the webpage of the Department of Economics.


Dr. Chloé Michel

Received a ZKB scholarship in 2012. She had previously completed her master’s degree at the University of Zurich. Ms Michel completed her doctorate in 2016 and accepted a position as behavioral analyst at Swiss Re.


Lea-Kathrin Heursen

Was awarded a ZKB scholarship in 2012. She had previously completed her master’s degree at the London School of Economics.


Yi-Shan Lee

Received a ZKB scholarship in 2013. She had previously completed her master’s degree at the National Taiwan University.


Christian Zünd

Was awarded a ZKB scholarship in 2014. He had previously completed his master’s degree at Cambridge University.