13th International Vernon Smith Prize

Is the Public Interest really in the public’s interest? Vernon Smith Prize 2020 – Call for Papers!

ECAEF announces the topic for this years’
XIII. International Vernon Smith Prize:

Is the Public Interest
really in the public’s interest?

The International Vernon Smith Prize is an essay competition  for the advancement of Austrian Economics. Sponsored and organized by ECAEF – European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation, Vaduz (Principality of Liechtenstein).

Call for papers!

Is the Public Interest really in the public’s interest? About 85 years ago, F. A. von Hayek already has warned us that even “if people agree about the desirability of planning in general, their agreements about the ends which planning is to serve will in the first instance necessarily be confined to some general formula like ‘social welfare’, the ‘general interest’, the ‘common good’, ‘greater equality’ or ‘justice’ etc. ”

Agreement on such a general formula is however, not sufficient to determine a concrete plan, even if we take all the technical means as given”. Although, these ambiguous, emotionally charged and politically domineering slogans still arouse the fantasy of intellectuals and politicians alike, a conceptual definition of these ‘multi-purpose’ terms appears to be of no concern for them. It is a regrettable fact that especially economics, far more than the other social sciences, is obsessed with the reiteration of popular, yet meaningless buzz words.

– 1st Prize: €4,000  –
– 2nd Prize: €3,000  –
– 3rd Prize: €2,000 –

All entries must meet the following 5 requirements:

1: Entries may be submitted by individuals of up to 30 years (in 2020).
2: Entries may not exceed 12 pages, including a full bibliography and a 1/2 page summary; 1.5 spacing; left/right margins no less then 1 inch.
3: Entries must be submitted in English in electronic form (PDF) to krl@ecaef.li and must include a current CV with Date of Birth.
4: Entries must be received on or before November 22, 2020.

It is mandatory that all prizewinners participate in the award ceremony in Vaduz (Principality of Liechtenstein) in February 2021.

Prizes are not transferable and will be awarded on the basis of originality, grasp of subject, and the logical consistence of the argument. An international jury will judge the essays and the winners will be invited to present their papers at a special event in Vaduz, Principality of Liechtenstein on Feb 8, 2021.


The International Vernon Smith Prize has been established in 2008 by ECEAF for the advancement of Austrian Economics. It 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.