János Kornai was Allie S. Freed Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard and Professor Emeritus at Corvinus University of Budapest. He served at Harvard between 1986 and 2002. His research has focused on the critical analysis of the socialist system and post-socialist transition. After the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe, his attention partly turned to economic policy, especially to macroeconomic problems and the reform of the welfare state. Recently his interest has been in the comparative analysis of capitalism, as reflected in his latest book, Dynamism, Rivalry and the Surplus Economy (2013). His best known works are Overcentralization in Economic Administration (1957), Anti-Equilibrium (1971), Economics of Shortage (1980), The Road to a Free Economy (1990), The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism (1992), Highway and Byways (1995), Struggle and Hope (1997), Welfare, Choice, and Solidarity in Transition (co-author Karen Eggleston, 2001), By Force of Thought: Irregular Memoirs of an Intellectual Journey (2006), From Socialism to Capitalism (2008), Dynamism, Rivalry and the Surplus Economy (2013). His works have been translated into more than twenty languages.
He was one of the founders of Collegium Budapest, Institute for Advanced Study in 1992, and was Permanent Fellow there until its close in 2011. Following the years when he shared his time between the USA and Hungary, after his retirement from Harvard University he returned to his home country, Hungary, for good.
Kornai was a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europeae, and Foreign Member of the American, British, Bulgarian, Finnish, Russian and Swedish Academies. He served as President of the Econometric Society, of the European Economic Association, and of the International Economic Association. He received the highest Hungarian prizes for scholarship, as well as the Seidman Award (USA), the Humboldt Prize (Germany), the Erasmus Medal (Academia Europeae) and the Leontief Medal (Russia). He had also become Officer of the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (France). He received honorary doctorates from 15 universities.
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Primary Fields of Interest: Comparative economics of socialism and capitalism, post-socialist transition, the recent political and economic changes in Hungary.
Research Topics: The reform of the welfare state, the reform of the health sector, institutional transformation, macroeconomic adjustment and stabilization programs in transition economics