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CALL.15.03.2021: Modern Economics and the Ancient World: Were the Ancients Rational Actors? - Online





ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Prof. Dr. Sven Günther, Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations, Northeast Normal University, Changchun (China); Dr. Roland Oetjen, University of Rostock (Germany)

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Were the ancients rational actors? Is the rational-actor model a suitable tool to analyze their behavior?

We want to answer the question in different ways. One way would be to ask the ancient texts directly. Another could be to use the rational-actor model to analyze the behavior of the ancients (in the economy, politics, or any other area of social life) and see whether the results are plausible.

In our conference, we explore the chances and limits of these approaches. The underlying question in each section is the extent of rational activity and actions that can be discovered by various methods of analyzing ancient societies. As we aim to have a broad perspective, we include not only Greek and Roman societies but warmly welcome contributions from other ancient societies and cultures across the globe.

Papers are expected to last ca.25-30 minutes followed by an intensive discussion of equal time. Proposals should address one of the following panel topics:

1.) Ancient texts

From theory to practice – How did the ancients think economy, and how do we reconstruct the ancient thoughts?

2.) Economic analysis of the economy

Landed property and real estate / financial investments / demand and supply etc.

3.) Economic analysis of politics

Institutions and institutional change / taxation / public spending etc.

4.) Economic analysis of any other area of social life

e.g. religion, law, social networks, moral behavior

Confirmed speakers so far are Alain Bresson (Chicago), Nicolas Krocker (Munich), Peter Sarris (Cambridge), Bertram Schefold (Frankfurt).

Please send your abstract of ca. 300 words until 15 March 2021 to Prof. Dr. Sven Günther ( / and Dr. Roland Oetjen ( Confirmation of participation is on 31 March 2021 latest.

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