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29.-31.07.2021: Modern Economics and the Ancient World: Were the Ancients Rational Actors? (Online)

Avatar of Philipp WeissPhilipp Weiss - 29. Juni 2021 - Veranstaltungen

International Conference, Northeast Normal University Changchun and University of Rostock

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 across the globe. In particular, the papers focus on 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 (e.g., landed property and real estate / financial investments / demand and supply)
  3. Economic analysis of politics and of other areas of social life (e.g., institutions and institutional change / taxation / public spending / social networks / law / religion / moral behavior).

The conference will be held online via Zoom.

View program and abstracts.

Prof. Dr. Sven Günther
Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China
e-mail:  or

Dr. Roland Oetjen
Heinrich Schliemann-Institut für Altertumswissenschaften, University of Rostock, Germany

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