Vernon Smith Prize

Vernon SmithThe International Vernon Smith Prize has been established in 2008 by ECEAF for the advancement of Austrian Economics. The essay competition is named after Professor Vernon Lomax Smith (born on January 1, 1927). He is professor of economics at Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics and School of Law in Orange, California, a research scholar at George Mason University Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, and a Fellow of the Mercatus Center, all in Arlington, Virginia. Smith shared the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Daniel Kahneman. He is also the founder and president of the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics, a Member of the Board of Advisors for The Independent Institute, and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C.

Once a year, ECAEF invites papers on a certain topic. The sent-in papers need to meet the following requirements:

1: Entries may be submitted by individuals of up to 30 years.

2: Entries may not exceed 12 pages; 1.5 spacing; left/right margins no less then 1 inch; full bibliography and a 1/2 page summary (abstract) must be included.

3: Entries must be submitted in English in electronic form (PDF) to Prof. Kurt Leube ( and must include an abbreviated CV, featuring DoB, education, and current position of the sender.

4: Entries must be received on or before a certain deadline – usually in the beginning of November.

5. It is mandatory that all prize winners participate in the award ceremony in Vaduz (Liechtenstein). Prizes are not transferable and will be awarded on the basis of originality, grasp of subject, and the logical consistence of the argument.

Essays will be judged by an international jury and the winners will be invited to present their papers at a special award ceremony in Vaduz, Principality of Liechtenstein. First Prize: €4,000 – Second Prize: €3,000 – Third Prize: €2,000. See a list of topics of previous Vernon Smith Prize essay competitions here:

15th Vernon Smith Prize (2022):  If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

14th Vernon Smith Prize (2021):  The Pretense of Knowledge as a Method of Governance

13th Vernon Smith Prize (2020):  Is the Public Interest really in the public’s interest?

12th Vernon Smith Prize (2019):  When the People fear their Government, there is Tyranny. When the Government fears the People, there is Liberty

11th Vernon Smith Prize (2018):  Obscured by Fake News: The Politics, Morals, and Limits of Genetic Engineering

10th Vernon Smith Prize (2017):  Does Tolerance become a crime when applied to evil?

9th Vernon Smith Prize (2016):  Direct Democracy versus Representative Democracy. Cost and Benefits for the Citizenry!

8th Vernon Smith Prize (2015):  Edward J. Snowden – Hero or Villian?

7th Vernon Smith Prize (2014):  Trusting politicians with our money is like leaving a cat in charge of a cream jug.

6th Vernon Smith Prize (2013):  Public Debt? Cheat the Citizen!

5th Vernon Smith Prize (2012):  “A Government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” – George Bernhard Shaw

4th Vernon Smith Prize (2011): The Rule of Law in Decline – “It seems clear that a nominally unlimited (sovereign) representative assembly must be progressively driven into a steady and unlimited extension of the powers of government.” – Friedrich A. von Hayek

3rd Vernon Smith Prize (2010): Concurrent Currencies: A Choice in Money to Solve the Crisis?

2nd Vernon Smith Prize (2009): “This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in.” – Joseph A. Schumpeter

1st Vernon Smith Prize (2008): Nation, State, and Liberty – At the occasion of the 2nd. edition of Ludwig von Mises’ German original “Nation, Staat und Wirtschaft” ECAEF invited papers on this topic.