Liberales Institut im Dienst der Freiheit

Institut Libéral
Place de la Fusterie 7
1204 Genève, Suisse
Tél.: +41 (0)22 510 27 90
Fax: +41 (0)22 510 27 91

Economics Essay Contest 2017

In 2017, the Institut Libéral will be conducting the first economics essay competition in media partnership with the «Neue Zürcher Zeitung». All master students, doctoral candidates, assistants and young professional economists based in Switzerland and up to 35 years of age are invited to participate.


Negative Interest Rates: Side-effects and Consequences

Answer this question (a) in general or specifically on the consequences for (b) business companies or (c) pension funds or (d) real estate markets or (e) the time preference of people.

Negative interest rates as a new tool in monetary policy represent a special challenge for the free society. What does it mean for the population and the economy if negative interest rates are implemented over a longer period of time? What impact do negative interest rates have on capital misallocation, pension funds, savings, corporate investment, corporate financing and valuation, government debt, monetary stability, cash, mortgage markets and real estate prices, international trade as well as the time preferences and moral values of people?


The essay contest is endowed with a prize money of CHF 12'000. The best essay is awarded with CHF 5'000, the second with CHF 3'000, the third with CHF 2'000, the fourth and fifth with CHF 1'000 each. The best essays will be published on the website of the Institut Libéral. The prize winners will also have the opportunity to discuss their essays with an NZZ economics editor.


The jury reviews content and style of the essays according to standardized criteria. The jury is composed of the following persons:

  • Urs Birchler, Prof., University of Zurich
  • Aymo Brunetti, Prof., University of Bern
  • Victoria Curzon Price, Prof., University of Geneva
  • Peter Fischer, Dr., Neue Zürcher Zeitung
  • Martin Janssen, Prof., University of Zurich
  • Paolo Pamini, Dr., Institut Libéral
  • Kurt Schiltknecht, Prof., University of Basel

Rules for Participation

  • The deadline for the submission is November 15, 2017. Late submissions cannot be considered.
  • The essay content is aimed at master students, doctoral students, assistants and young professional economists. Participants may not be older than 35 years on November 15, 2017 and must be enrolled or work at a Swiss institution.
  • The main text of the essay should be between 25'000 and 35'000 characters (including spaces).
  • The essay must be written in English or in German.
  • Quotations must be marked as such and must be stated with a source.
  • Employees of the Institut Libéral as well as their immediate relatives are excluded from participation.
  • The essays must be written by the participants themselves and may not have been published or submitted to be published in any other place.
  • The essays must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document or as an Adobe PDF in an e-mail attachment to The accompanying e-mail must contain the full name, residential address, telephone number and date of birth of the participant. In order to ensure anonymity during the evaluation, the name of the participant may not appear in the attached essay file. The Liberal Institute will confirm the reception of the e-mail.
  • In the event of no essay meeting the requirements of the jury, the latter reserves the right not to choose any winners.

The decision of the jury will be anounced in February 2018.


For further questions, please contact