In Spring 2020, the CERGE-EI Foundation launched a pilot project to live stream bachelor’s level courses to universities across Eastern Europe and Central Asia in line with its mission to strengthen economics education across the region.
The objective of the project is to provide courses which could be difficult for many institutions to offer, either because of insufficient student demand or because of a lack of faculty with the relevant expertise. The EU-based faculty are western-qualified and the courses are taught in English. They are supported by faculty or PhD students at the participating institutions: a longer-term objective of the project is to aid local capacity-building.
The courses are delivered online from CERGE-EI’s Digital Media Center and live streamed to multiple locations. Faculty are also able to teach from home if the pandemic situation demands. Equally, students at participating universities may attend these classes remotely.
The simultaneous participation of several universities encourages interaction between students in different countries, encourages comparison and motivation, enables students to experience an international classroom in a home environment, and avoids the problem of low enrollment at a particular institution.
This exciting and ambitious project is funded by private donations. The Foundation is actively seeking additional funds to support its continued development.
If you are an institution interested in participating, contact us at
Spring 2022: Course Offerings
Fall 2021: Course Offerings
Vilém Semerák, Ph.D.
This is a course about international trade, its determinants and its consequences. We study the ways that the patterns of international trade might be shaped by (and might in turn re-shape) a country’s available resource endowments, its technology, the income distribution, economic growth and politics.
The course starts with the concept of comparative advantage and the gains from trade and the determinants of the patterns of trade. We will further explore the costs, benefits, and impact on income distribution of different instruments of trade protection; the effects of free trade areas (trade creation and trade diversion), and of factor mobility. Students learn to apply the analytical toolbox of trade theory to real world situations in order to make qualitative predictions of the effects of measures such as tariffs or export subsidies. Students not only learn the theory, but they have a chance to use and analyze actual trade data. We also include the discussion of very relevant current issues (international supply chains, the use of network theory, effects of trade sanctions and embargoes).
Energy Economics and Electricity Markets
Silvester van Koten, Ph.D.
Energy is a basic necessity of daily life and a vital input to industry in any society around the world. Energy also plays a central role in climate policy.
The course, taking mostly the viewpoint of economic markets and economic regulation, aims at giving the student knowledge about various topics related to the energy system. The main focus will be on electricity and electricity markets, as a massive paradigmatic shift has been transforming electricity systems all over the world from centrally planned engineering systems to regulated markets over the past decade. This transformation is still underway and stirring up many new, important questions, such as the correct pricing of electricity and supporting services. A special focus is also on gas, a fuel playing a major role in electricity generation. Moreover, electricity is expected to play a special role in the decarbonalization effort of energy systems.
The course is focused on giving the tools to better understand and appraise the present policies regarding energy and electricity. Especially with regard to investment in different kind of power plants, the use of the electricity grid and the possible support policies (such as capacity markets or renewable subsidies). Special attention is paid to the results of the energy policies in the energy change front runners such as California, Denmark and Germany.
Jakub Grossmann, M.A., Ph.D. cand.
The course aims to provide students with the basics of labor economics. Theoretical models will be linked to real-life examples, making the course beneficial for subsequent studies and professional life. The tentative list of topics includes labor demand and supply, wages (equilibrium wages, hedonic wages, etc.), human capital, discrimination in the labor market, and unemployment.
Taras Hrendash, M.A., Ph.D. cand.
This course covers selected topics on Economics of Innovation. It helps students to answer the most common questions about economic aspects of innovations: Why do firms innovate and why do they strive to be first in a race of research and development? How can employees be motivated to produce innovative outputs? How innovative ideas spread and foster creation of a new knowledge? How intellectual property of innovators is protected and what are the costs and scope of such protection? Where can innovative start-up firms get money to finance their projects?
The contents of this course are based on insights from macro and microeconomics, contract theory and corporate finance.
Comparative Economic Systems
Vilém Semerák, Ph.D. and
Krešimir Žigić, Ph.D.
The course will introduce students to the economic functioning of centrally planned economies and the reasons behind their collapse. It will cover the main challenges the countries faced when transforming to market economies and analyze policies that were available and applied through the transition, such as privatization, macrostabilization, approaches to sectoral reallocation, etc. We will explore the advantages and disadvantages of the policies and assess how well they fitted the specific conditions of various countries. We will evaluate to what extent the transition was successful in achieving its goal to establish market economies and to what extent it is still a work in progress.
Using this insight, we will try to understand the dynamics of current important economies with less textbook-like economic systems (China).We will use an interdisciplinary approach – i.e. to combine the introduction to selected institutional facts with relevant formal economic models and occasionally with an insight into quantitative methods which can be used on similar types of issues.
Applied Corporate Finance
Denis Alekssev, M.A., Ph.D. cand.
This course is aimed to establish a bridge between modern corporate finance theories and practical investment decisions in financial markets.
We will cover the basics of agency theory, modern portfolio choice theory, assets-pricing models and their practical applications. After the course, students will be able to acquire and process the financial market data, to analyze the investment qualities of individual stocks and portfolios and to make rational investment decisions.
This course aims to acquaint students with the basics of main behavioral theories and empirical methods commonly used to test theoretical predictions. The knowledge obtained in this course may be useful for both professional life in future and study strategies.
Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to
• understand the conceptual framework of behavioral economics and its tools
• apply insights from psychology when predicting or analyzing economic decision-making
• critically discuss the assumptions of traditional economic theory.
The goal of this course is to expose students to the newest developments in applied microeconomic research in development economics, particularly policy-oriented research. The topics covered will be especially close to the research agenda of the recent Nobel Prize Winners in Economics: Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer. A further focus of the course is on the study of infrastructure, firms and labor markets in developing countries. Overall, the course offers a thorough understanding of current-day research in development, with a special angle on poverty reduction and private market policies. The goal is to enable students to identify promising research questions in these fields (e.g. for future studies), and to help students prepare for a career as a practitioner in government and non-government development organizations.
Martina Miotto, Ph.D.
Energy Economics and Climate Policy
Energy is a basic necessity of daily life and a vital input to industry in any society around the world. New technologies, especially renewable power generators such as wind and solar, are changing the energy industry. Further, new climate policies have a growing influence on the economics and practical functioning of energy systems, especially the electricity industry.
The course firstly offers deeper theoretical insights into economic externalities such as global warming. A number of classical economic instruments are presented, including Pigovean taxes, cap-and-trade programs, subsidies, and mandates. The theory addressed also has broad applications in the fields of public finance and public policy.
Silvester van Koten, Ph.D.
The human capital of the population is a key determinant of labor-market success and economic growth. This means that the economics of education is the core of understanding individual and societal economic prosperity.
This course introduces students to the key concepts and major issues of the economics of education, placing emphasis on current empirical research in the field. Topics include: the basic theory of investments in education (human capital theory) and the role of early childhood education; returns to education and the empirical problem of disentangling returns to education from returns to innate ability; the roles of class size, peer effects and school expenditures, and more.
Miroslava Federičová, Ph.D.
Labor Economics 2
The aim of the course is to guide students through economic analyses of the labor market and provide them with the fundamentals of labor economics. Among other topics, we will study important contemporary economic issues including differentials on the labor market by gender and ethnicity, worker discrimination, sources of income inequality, minimum wages, unions and wage bargaining, worker mobility, and immigration policies. The course will combine theoretical concepts, empirical evidence and empirical approaches, including the use of econometrics tools in labor market economics. We will discuss the importance of particular important labor market institutions and policies, explain the motivations for their establishment, and we will apply labour economics to explain and empirically evaluate the labor market effects of institutions and policy changes. Critical discussions about public policy designs will be encouraged.
Mariola Pytliková, Ph.D.
This course covers production and demand for healthcare, how the determinants of demand and supply affect the costs of various types of healthcare services, and individual, family, and market investments in health. The field uses the tools from both microeconomics and econometrics to theoretically and empirically examine a number of topics, including the role of health insurance, healthcare in developing countries, and risky behavior.
Eva Hromadkova, Ph.D.
This course aims to provide a basic understanding of today’s changing landscape of financial markets and institutions with a broad scope and emphasis on general principles. Students will study the key fundamentals of financial markets and learn how financial markets and financial institutions work. We will discuss interest rates and their role in valuation, learn about efficient market hypothesis and exchange rate determination, explore money and capital markets, identify various players in the financial institutions industry, and take a closer look at risk management in financial institutions.
Gabriela Kuvíková, Ph.D.
Introduction to Data Science
This course provides an introduction to data science as a profession and focuses on the theoretical methodologies of the most widely applied machine learning models. The course also includes practical work with data during the exercise sessions, which will be conducted in Python. The participants of the course do not have to know Python but shall be able to understand the general concepts and steps of data processing during the exercise sessions and be able to replicate these steps in the data processing software of their choice. The main topics covered include: data preparation (data mining, cleaning and exploring strategies), statistical modeling with the application of appropriate machine learning methodologies (data segmentation, predictive analytics) and mathematical evaluation.
Vahan Sargsyan, Ph.D.
From Correlation to Causation: Understanding the 2021 Nobel Prize
Did you know that men who shave their beards every day live longer? This statement is true in terms of a correlation, but there is no causal relationship at all. In fact, empirical research in economics and social sciences faces the challenge of distinguishing correlation from causation. The course introduces concepts of causal analysis in a non-technical way. These concepts were awarded the 2021 Nobel prize in economics. The main focus will be on research settings or design. Figures and graphs will help to train students to understand the intuition behind the respective concepts. We will read and understand research papers in the field of long-run development and political economy that focus on specific concepts of causal empirical analysis.
Christian Ochsner, Ph.D.