European Summer Symposium in Economic Theory

The European Summer Symposium in Economic Theory (ESSET) is one of the key annual events for economic theorists. It has been held at the Studienzentrum Gerzensee (a foundation of the Swiss National Bank), Switzerland, each July since 1992. The meeting is organised by the Studienzentrum Gerzensee with CEPR and brings together around 50 economists over a two-week period. ESSET is a very prominent event in the economic theory community.

Each of the two weeks is centred on the "focus sessions" which are devoted to a particular topic, which changes every year. At least two leading theorists are invited to organise the focus sessions that represent the background themes for that year's conference. The topics chosen by the organisers represent the frontier of current research in economic theory. The remaining days are characterised by a seminar presentation in the morning and parallel sessions in the evening. This structure of the conference fosters joint work, collaboration and discussion among conference participants during the week, exploiting the outstanding facilities of the Centre. In selecting the academics invited to the conference and the papers presented, the organisers give priority to high quality papers submitted by young European economists.

Statements from previous attendees:

Oliver Hart (Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University)

"I have attended two ESSET meetings in Gerzensee, one in 1993 and the other in 2014. Both were very stimulating as well as great fun. The first was on contracts at a time when many interesting developments were taking place in that field. The second was partly on law and economics. As well as the stimulating and exciting intellectual atmosphere I remember the excellent food, the beauty of the place, and the delightful opportunity to swim in the lake after a hard day's work!"

Eric S. Maskin (Adams University Professor at Harvard University)

“I attended two ESSET meetings in Gerzensee and enjoyed them very much. It was fun to talk about theory - in seminars and conversations - in such a lovely and relaxed environment.”

Philip J. Reny (Hugo F. Sonnenschein Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago)

“The ESSET meetings held in Gerzensee, Switzerland are a unique and truly important scholarly event. I can think of no other conference, workshop, or study group that has found the perfect combination of lecture time, free time, and venue to give participants the absolute best opportunity to learn of the important work that is going on at the frontier of the discipline while at the same time providing the opportunity to form new connections with one's peers in a way that leads naturally to joint work. It is no surprise that the demand to attend this thoughtfully-conceived and exceptionally well-run conference is so very high."

Jean-Charles Rochet (Professor of Banking and Senior SFI Chair at the University of Zürich and CEPR Research Fellow)

“I have had the pleasure to attend many ESSET meetings since the very beginning in 1992. For many Europe-based economists like me, these symposiums have constituted a unique opportunity to interact with my peers and be exposed to frontier research. I started many successful collaborations there.

The ESSET meetings have been crucial in building a community of top European researchers in economics.”

Joel Sobel (Professor of Economics at the University of California San Diego)

“I am grateful that I have had the chance to attend two ESSET meetings in Gerzensee.  The conference brings together researchers with common interests and combines a focused schedule of formal talks with plenty of time for side conversations and collaboration.  It is an excellent opportunity to establish new working relationships and to listen to excellent research presentations.  The organisational support provided by CEPR and by the staff at the beautiful conference location is excellent.”   

Current standing organising committee for ESSET:

Scientific coordinators: Aislinn Bohren (University of Pennsylvania and CEPR) and Dezsö Szalay (University of Bonn and CEPR)

Chair of the Organising Committee: Andrea Prat (Columbia University and CEPR)

Week 1: Vasiliki Skreta (UT Austin, UCL and CEPR) and Joel Sobel (UC San Diego) 
Week 2: Emir Kamenica (The University of Chicago Booth School of Business) and Stephen Morris (MIT)

Organising Committee:  
Aislinn Bohren (University of Pennsylvania and CEPR)
Sylvain Chassang (New York University)
Johannes Hörner (Yale University and CEPR)
Emir Kamenica (University of Chicago)
Margaret Meyer (Oxford University and CEPR)
Stephen Morris (MIT)
Dirk Niepelt (Study Center Gerzensee and CEPR)
Pietro Ortoleva (Princeton University)
Marco Ottaviani (Bocconi University and CEPR)
Andrea Prat (Columbia University and CEPR)
Joel Sobel (UC San Diego) 
Xavier Vives (IESE Business School, Barcelona and CEPR) 
Lucy White (Boston University and CEPR) 

Symposium Websites: 

  • 2019: Advances in behavioural theory - organised by Aislinn Bohren (Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania and CEPR) and Philipp Strack (University of California, Berkeley and CEPR)
    Information, Learning, and Markets - organised by Yeon-Koo Che (Columbia University) and Johannes Hoerner (University of Yale)

  • 2018: Markets for Information - organised by Dirk Bergemann (Yale and CEPR), Alessandro Bonatti (MIT Sloan and CEPR) and Xavier Vives (IESE Business School and CEPR)
    Misspecified Models - organised by Pietro Ortoleva (Princeton) and Andrea Prat (Columbia University and CEPR) 

  • 2017: Coordination, Communication, and Attention – organised by Joel Sobel and Dezsö Szalay. Focus session talks given by Laura Doval, Simone Galperti, Marco LiCalzi, Alessandro Pavan and Ming Yang.
    An Economic Perspective on the Design and Analysis of Experiments – organised by Sylvain Chassang and Margaret Meyer. Focus session talks given by Abhijit Banerjee, Gilles Chemla, Marco Ottaviani, Peter Norman Sørensen and Aleksey Tetenov.

  • 2016: Developments in Mechanism Design - organised by Stephen Morris and Andrea Prat. Focus session talks given by Dirk Bergemann, Aislinn Bohren, Sylvain Chassang, Stephen Morris, Marek Pycia and Tomasz Sadzik 
    Games and Contracts: A Dynamic Perspective - organised by Johannes Hörner and Sven Rady. Focus session talks given by Martin William Cripps, Johannes Hörner, Larry Samuelson and Ennio S Stacchetti 
  • 2015:    Persuasion and Information Acquisition (Alessandro Bonatti, Péter Esö, Emir Kamenica, Joel Sobel and Dezsö Szalay)
    Reviews and Feedback Mechanisms (Gabrielle Demange, Johannes Hörner, Marco Ottaviani, Motty Perry and Steve Tadelis)
  • 2014:    Law and Economics (Patrick Bolton, Ronald Gilson, Jeffrey Gordon, Gillian Hadfield, Henry Hansmann and Charles Sabel)
    Attention (Andy Caplin, Geoffroy de Clippel, Kfir Eliaz, Xavier Gabaix, Yusufcan Masatlioglu, Filip Matejka, Alessandro Pavan, Kareen Rozen, and Josh Schwartzstein)
  • 2013:   Macroeconomic Theory (Elias Albagli, Klaus Adam, Marios Angeletos, Paul Beaudry, Christian Hellwig, Xavier Vives and Mirko Wiederholt)
    Behavioral Mechanism Design (Geoffroy de Clippel, Jeff Ely, Philippe Jehiel, Nick Netzer, Ariel Rubinstein, Rani Spiegler and Yuval Salant)
  • 2012:    Matching (Qingmin Liu, Benny Moldovanu, Hector Chade and Georg Nöldeke)
    Communication and Information (Willie Fuchs, Johannes Hörner, In-Uck Park, and Moritz Meyer-ter-Vehn)
  • 2011:    Asset Pricing, Financial Stability, and the Crisis (organised by Patrick Bolton and Xavier Vives)
    Financial Intermediation, Regulation and the Crisis (organised by Margaret Meyer)
  • 2010:    New Directions in the Theory of Choice (Mark Dean, Kfir Eliaz, Ariel Rubinstein, Aldo Rustichini and Ran Spiegler)
    Market and Mechanism Design (Bruno Biais, Yeon-Koo Che, Christian Hellwig, Alessandro Pavan, Yuliy Sannikov, Dezsö Szalay, Aleh Tsyvinski and Juuso Välimäki)
  • 2009:    The Subprime Innovation, the Housing Bust and the Financial Crisis: What Happened? What Next? (François Ortalo-Magné and Sven Rady)
    International Conflict, Bargaining, and War  (Matthew Jackson, Massimo Morelli and Debraj Ray)
  • 2008:    Communication and Decisions in Organisations (Luis Garicano)
    Contracts and Rationality (Patrick Bolton)
  • 2007:    Competition and Antitrust Enforcement (Volker Nocke and Michael D. Whinston)
    Theoretical Models of Political Economy (Antonio Merlo)
  • 2006:    The Economics of Social Networks (Francis Bloch, Syngjoo Choi, Douglas Gale, Andrea Galeotti, Garance Genicot, Sanjeev Goyal, Matthew Jackson, Shachar Kariv, Fernando Vega-Redondo, Leeat Yariv)
    Boundedly Rational Beliefs in Games (Pierpaolo Battigalli, Martin Dufwenberg, Ariel Rubinstein, Ran Spiegler and Muhamet Yildiz)
  • 2005:    Two-Sided Markets (Mark Armstrong, Ben Hermalin, Michael Katz, Jean-Charles Rochet and Jean Tirole) and Organisations (Wouter Dessein, Debraj Ray and Dimitri Vayanos)
    Complementarities and Games (Federico Echenique, Kiminori Matsuyama and Xavier Vives) and The Empirics of Complementarities (Eugenio Miravete, Andrew Sweeting and Elie Tamer)
  • 2004:    Law and Economics (Andy Postlewaite) and Allocation Mechanisms without Prices (Ariel Rubinstein, Michele Piccone)
    Theoretical Issues in the Economics of Education (Christopher Avery) and Economic Models of Reputation (Jeffrey Ely)
  • 2003:    Computer Science and Economics (Ilya Segal and Noam Nissan)
    Biology and Economics  (Ted Bergström and Arthur Robson)
  • 2002:    Empirical Industrial Organisation (Robert H. Porter, Arial Pakes and Frank A Wolak) and Dynamics of Collusion (Kyle Bagwell, Susan Carleton Athey, Atila Abdulkadiroglu and Hugo Hopenhayn)
    Dynamics of Social Optima (Harald Uhlig, Narayana Kocherlakota, Albert Marcet and Hugo Hopenhayn) and Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Bengt Holmström, Boyan Jovanovic, Augustin Landier and Denis Gromb)
  • 2001:    Efficiency in Auctions and Market Structure (Eric Maskin and Benny Moldovanu) and Dynamics of Competition in Network Industries (Mark Armstrong and Patrick Rey)
    Market Determinants of Organisations (Gene Grossman, Elhanan Helpman and Andrew Newman) and Behavioural Contract Theory (Ernst Fehr and Klaus Schmidt)
  • 2000:    Microeconomic and Macroeconomic Models of Financial Crises (Stephen Morris, Hyun Shin, Philippe Bacchetta and Giancarlo Corsetti) and Multiparty Contracting (Ilya Segal and Michael Whinston)
    Personnel Economics (George Baker, Ed Lazear and Kevin Murphy)
  • 1999:    Information Processing in Organisations (Mathias Dewatripont and Tim Van Zandt) and Information Aggregation in Markets (Glenn Ellison and Xavier Vives)
    Income Inequality and Redistribution (Anthony Atkinson and Peter Diamond) and Income Inequality and Social Mobility (Philippe Aghion and Abhijit Banerjee)
  • 1998:    Competition Policy, Regulation and International Trade (Rich Gilbert, Patrick Rey, Mike Riordan and Kyle Bagwell)
  • 1997:    Experimental Economics (Al Roth)
    Social Psychology (Colin Camerer, George Lowenstein and Richard Thaler)
  • 1996:    The Economics of Agglomeration (Jacques Thisse)
    Political Economy (Roger Myerson, Torsten Persson and Howard Rosenthal)
  • 1995:    Bounded Rationality (Ariel Rubinstein) and Auctions (Preston McAfee and Paul Milgrom)
    Information in Organizations (Eric Maskin)
  • 1994:    Dynamics (Avinash Dixit, Hugo Hopenhayn and Andrew Caplin) and Empirical Industrial Organisation (Tim Bresnahan, Ariel Pakes and Robert Porter)
    Organisations (Paul Milgrom and John Roberts)
  • 1993:    Organised by Patrick Bolton, Margaret Meyer and Xavier Vives
  • 1992:    Organised by Patrick Bolton and Xavier Vives

Please see the Study Center Gerzensee website for more information on previous symposium: