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Swiss Program for Beginning Doctoral Students in Economics

The Swiss Program for Beginning Doctoral Students in Economics consists of a mathematics review (two days, optional) as well as sequences in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics. In each sequence, leading international academics teach four week-long courses.

Each course includes formal lectures of three hours per day as well as exercise review sessions. Course weeks start on Monday at 10:30h and end on Friday at noon. Returning to their home universities in the periods between the course weeks, participants review and prepare the material covered in class, solve mandatory homework problem sets, and study for the midterm and final exams. On successful completion of the program, participants are awarded a Certificate.



The contents of the three sequences are standard, with the topics covered changing only slightly from year to year.


The microeconomics sequence covers

  • in week 1: preference and choice, consumer choice, classical demand theory, aggregate demand, production, choice under uncertainty;
  • in week 2: markets and competitive equilibria, welfare properties and other properties of competitive equilibria; uncertainty and asset pricing;
  • in week 3: externalities, public goods, adverse selection, signalling, screening, principal-agent theory, limits to redistribution, general equilibrium under uncertainty, social choice, incentives and mechanism design.
  • in week 4: non-cooperative games, simultaneous move and dynamic games, complete and incomplete-information games with applications;

Textbooks that have been used in the sequence include Gibbons (1992), A Primer in Game Theory, Harvester Wheatsheaf; and Mas Colell, Whinston and Green (1995), Microeconomic Theory, Oxford University Press.


The macroeconomics sequence covers

  • in week 1: business cycle measurement, linear methods and methods of dynamic optimization, consumption, labor supply, investment, real business cycles, recursive equilibrium and asset pricing;
  • in week 2: neoclassical growth model, models with multiple equilibria, small open economy models, models of monopolistic competition, overlapping generations models, growth;
  • in week 3: distorted equilibria, optimal fiscal policy under commitment and discretion, dynamic contracts and optimal unemployment insurance, second-order approximation methods, economies with discrete and occasional adjustment;
  • in week 4: classical monetary models, models with nominal rigidities, inflation dynamics, monetary policy design, and evidence on monetary policy rules.

The primary textbooks for the sequence are: Barro and Sala-i-Martin (2003), Economic Growth, MIT Press 2nd edition; GalĂ­ (2008), Monetary Policy, Inflation and the Business Cycle. An Introduction to the New Keynesian Framework, Princeton University Press; and Lundquist and Sargent (2004), Recursive Macroeconomic Theory, MIT Press, 2nd edition.


The econometrics sequence covers

  • in week 1: basic probability, large sample theory, estimators and their properties, hypothesis testing, Bayes methods;
  • in week 2: inference in the classical regression model, generalizations of the linear model, instrumental variables;
  • in week 3:linear difference equations, stochastic processes, Wold's theorem, spectral analysis, estimation and inference methods for stationary linear models, vector auto regressions, functional central limit theorem, Kalman filtering, models of time-varying volatility, tests for structural breaks, forecasting;
  • in week 4: nonlinear regression, qualitative choice models, limited dependent and sample selection models, panel data models, program evaluation, nonparametric estimation techniques, and quantile regression.

Textbooks that have been used in the sequence include Hamilton (1994), Time Series Analysis, Princeton University Press; Hayashi (2000), Econometrics, Princeton University Press; as well as Hogg and Craig (1995), Introduction to Mathematical Statistics, Prentice Hall.


All three sequences make intensive use of mathematical and statistical techniques. It is therefore strongly recommended that participants review the relevant material before the beginning of the first sequence. The Study Center also offers a four-day review course on mathematical methods, starting on the introduction day. The material covered in the review includes

  • Jacobian and Hessian, unconstrained and constrained optimization, Lagrangian, Kuhn-Tucker theorem, envelope theorem, eigenvalues and -vectors, difference equations, and basic dynamic optimization

on the level of, for example, Simon and Blume (1994), Mathematics for Economists, Norton.



The microeconomics sequence is taught by

  • Piero Gottardi (week 2)
  • John Moore (week 3)
  • Klaus Schmidt (week 1)
  • Jörgen W. Weibull (week 4)

The macroeconomics sequence is taught by

  • Fernando Alvarez (week 3)
  • Jordi GalĂ­ (week 4)
  • Sergio Rebelo (week 2)
  • Ricardo Reis (week 1)


The econometrics sequence is taught by

  • Bo E. HonorĂ© (weeks 2 and 4)
  • Mark W. Watson (weeks 1 and 3)


The mathematics review is taught by Gerzensee faculty Filippo Brutti and Cyril Monnet.


Fernando Alvarez is a Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago. Alvarez is a Research Associate the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Fellow at the Econometric Society, an Editor of the Journal of Political Economy, and an Associate Editor of the Review of Economic Dynamics and the Quality Rated Journal of Macroeconomics. He is also research visitor to the Enaudi Institute of Economics and Finance in Rome and worked as a consultant to the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Alvarez has received the Fellowships from the European Central Bank, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Organization of American States.  His primary research interests include monetary and employment policy, including discussions of interest and exchange rates, unemployment and insurance claims, equilibrium economics, dynamic programming, and segmented markets. 

Jordi GalĂ­ is director of the Center for Research on International Economics (CREI), and Professor of Economics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain. He is also a co-director of the International Macroeconomics Program at CEPR and an editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association. Prof. GalĂ­ received his Ph.D. from MIT. His research interests include monetary economics, business cycles, and macroeconometrics.

Piero Gottardi is professor of economics at the European University Institute. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and was a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, Brown and UPF. He is associate editor of the Journal of Economic Theory and the Journal of Public Economic Theory. His research interests are in general equilibrium theory, financial economics and the economics of information, in particular the properties of markets and contractual arrangements in the presence of uncertainty and informational asymmetries.

Bo E. Honoré is professor of economics at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and was on the faculty of Northwestern University before coming to Princeton. Prof. Honoré is a fellow of the Econometric Society and has served on the editorial boards of the Review of Economic Studies, Economic Letters, Econometric Theory, Journal of Econometrics, and Econometrica. He has published numerous articles in the area of theoretical econometrics.

John H. Moore is professor of economic theory at the London School of Economics (LSE) and at the University of Edinburgh. He studied for a B.A in mathematics from the University of Cambridge and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the LSE. Prof. Moore’s research has largely been in microeconomic theory labor contracts, mechanism design, the theory of the firm, and financial contracting. More recently, he has worked on the microfoundations of macroeconomics, in particular the role of money and credit in the propagation of business cycles. Professor Moore was editor of the Review of Economic Studies, elected Fellow of the Econometric Society and, with his co-author Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, was awarded the Yrjo Jahnsson Medal. He was elected Foreign Honorary Member of the American Economic Association and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Sergio T. Rebelo is the Tokai Bank Distinguished Professor of international finance at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. Prof. Rebelo received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. He has held positions at the University of Rochester, the Portuguese Catholic University, and the Bank of Portugal's research department. His research interests are in the areas of international finance, economic growth and business cycles, where he has published widely.

Ricardo Reis is the A.W. Phillips Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics. He is also affiliated with the NBER, the CEPR, the ESRC Centre for Macroeconomics, and he is an academic advisor at the Bank of England. He is the chief editor of the Journal of Monetary Economics and sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Economic Literature and the Economic Journal. His main area of research is macroeconomics, both theoretical and applied. Recent work has focussed on quantitative easing and the central bank balance sheet, fiscal automatic stabilizers, the measurement and use of valuation-relevant inflation. Past research focused on theories of inattention, models of sticky information, inflation dynamics, price indices, and the study of monetary and fiscal policy. More recent and relevant policy work consisted of developing the concepts of the diabolic loop between banks and sovereigns and the cross-border flight to safety in the Euro crisis, and proposing the issuance of ESBies as a solution. He previously taught at Columbia University and Princeton University, and has a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Klaus Schmidt is professor of economics at the University of Munich. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Bonn and was a visiting professor at MIT, Stanford and Yale. He is associate editor of the RAND Journal of Economics and served as a co-editor of the European Economic Review and associate editor of the Review of Economic Studies. His research interests focus on contract theory and game theory, in particular the theory and applications of incomplete and implicit contracts, on behavioural and experimental economics, and on political economy.

Mark W. Watson is professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University. He is a research associate at the NBER and has served as a consultant for the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago and Richmond. Before joining the Princeton faculty, he was a Professor of Economics at Northwestern University. Prof. Watson holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. He has published extensively in the areas of theoretical and applied econometrics.

Jörgen Weibull holds the A. O. Wallenberg chair of economics at the Stockholm School of Economics. He has a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. Prof. Weibull has published many articles on non-cooperative and evolutionary game theory, political economy, industrial economics, altruism, social norms and social preferences. Prof. Weibull teaches game theory at Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, and has been visiting professor at Princeton and Boston Universities. He is a fellow of Econometric Society, member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and has served as chairman of its committee for the Alfred Nobel memorial prize in economic sciences. He was awarded the Söderberg prize in economics in 1999.