Event Series

The European Summer Symposium in Economic Theory (ESSET)

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.

Each of the two weeks is centred on "focus sessions" 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.

Scientific coordinator: Aislinn Bohren (University of Pennsylvania and CEPR)

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

Organisers for 2023 

Week 1: Sylvain Chassang (Princeton University and CEPR), Bob Gibbons (MIT and CEPR), Gilat Levy (London School of Economics and CEPR) and Michael Powell (Northwestern University) 
Week 2: Mohammad Akbarpour (Standford University), Aislinn Bohren (University of Pennsylvania and CEPR) and Sanjeev Goyal (University of Cambridge)

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)

Pietro Ortoleva (Princeton University)

Marco Ottaviani (Bocconi University and CEPR)

Andrea Prat (Columbia University and CEPR)

Vasiliki Skreta (UT Austin, UCL and CEPR) 

Joel Sobel (UC San Diego) 

Dezsö Szalay (University of Bonn and CEPR)

Xavier Vives (IESE Business School, Barcelona and CEPR) 

Lucy White (Boston University and CEPR)


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.”