The Charles Street Symposium is an annual forum for the world’s leading young economists. Our aim is to bring together the best and brightest economics scholars to address issues of relevance to public policy that are inadequately addressed and understood in existing economic research.

2013 Charles Street Symposium: What Would Hayek Say Today (Really)?

Symposium and Essay Contest; Top Prizes

12-13 December 2013, London

The ideas of Friedrich August von Hayek have left a significant footprint on economic thought and policy debates of the last century. But do his ideas still matter? In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis there has been a resurgence of interest in Hayek’s work on business cycles, but its policy lessons have been largely ignored by policymakers. Much of his other scholarly work remains largely ignored or, worse yet, misunderstood.

In the past his ideas mattered greatly. In the face of stagnating economies of the Soviet bloc and the economic malaise in the West in the 1970s, Hayek’s vision represented a stark alternative to the dominant consensus about the role of the government in the economy. The reforms of Thatcher and Reagan’s years, as well as the radical reform strategies used in post-communist transitions were influenced by Hayek, and are generally seen as successful in restoring life to previously moribund economies.

But what would he and the wider ‘Austrian School’ of economics say about the modern challenges facing the globalised world economy? Would he have been in favour of austerity policies to reduce deficit and also the size of government? Did Hayek’s support of non-price distorting redistribution and mandate policies mean that he would have endorsed universal health care? How would Hayek have seen China’s investment boom: as an example of unsustainable malinvestment or healthy economic activity? What would he think of economic reforms in India and other parts of the emerging world?

The 2013 Charles Street Symposium, hosted by the Legatum Institute, will explore such questions to better understand the relevance of Hayekian economic and social thought for the 21st century.

Following the success of last year’s inaugural Charles Street Symposium, this year again we will bring together a group of young scholars from economics and related disciplines. The aim is to discuss issues of relevance to public policy that are inadequately addressed and understood in existing economic research.

The day’s programme will include keynotes by distinguished senior scholars, lively discussions, and plenty of time for informal interaction among all scholars. It is our aim to challenge, inspire, and provoke every participant to think clearly about the biggest economic issues of our day and to provide an effective platform to foster connections between young thinkers who might not have otherwise an opportunity to meet each other.

Announcement of Winners

After receiving a large number of high-quality submission for the 2013 Charles Street Symposium, the selection committee is pleased to announce the top three essays, as follows.

1st Place      

Zachary Caceres

Affiliation: The Start-up Cities Institute (Universidad Francisco Marroquin) 

Essay Title: “The Problem of Possibility: Competitive Governance as a Discovery Procedure”

2nd Place     

Helen Dale

Affiliation – MBM Commerical LLP

Essay Title: “Hayek and the Wicked Problem or, when welfare is necessary”

3rd Place

Gabriel Heller Sahlgren

Affiliation - Centre for Market Reform of Education / Institute of Economic Affairs / Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Stockholm

Essay Title: “Hayek on Education: Designing Markets for Spontaneous Orders”

We would also like to include two honourable mentions, of papers which were considered for the top three for their high quality and unique scholarly pursuit in answering thought-provoking economic questions. They are as follows:

  1. Adam Martin (King’s College London), essay title “Abolition as a Positive Program: A Hayekian Perspective on Intellectual Prosperity”
  2. Marta Podemska (Beloit College), essay title “One the Use of Knowledge in the U.S. Health Care System”


A collection of the final essays is available here.


The 2013 Symposium programme is available here.

About the 2012 Charles Street Symposium


June 2012

The inaugural Charles Street Symposium focussed on issues of economic risk and uncertainty. The Symposium brought together an outstanding group of young scholars, who were joined by a selection of leading senior economists as keynote speakers and mentors: Tyler Cowen (George Mason University), Randall Kroszner (University Of Chicago) and Peter Lewin (University Of Texas).

More information available here.