Bertram Schefold



Professor of Economic Theory at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main

Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
2017–2021 (Senior Fellow)

Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»Chinese and European History of Economic Thought in Comparison« (together with Iwo Amelung)

Project outline:
Economic history emphasises the importance of scientific knowledge for the explanation of success in economic development. By contrast, the relevance of economic knowledge for the creation of institutions and policies favourable to growth receives much less attention. The project shall investigate this problematic and confront Chinese and European experiences, going in steps from the present back to Antiquity. We are interested in the comparison of both strands of thought, because we believe that they might help to explain the divergence of Chinese and European paths in the 18th century; they express the development of culturally characteristic conceptual frameworks that remain relevant for the understanding of the Chinese and European economies in their specific contexts. Even though modern liberalism and the emergence of Chinese Marxism appear to have rendered traditional economic thought irrelevant, a closer examination reveals that it offers intellectual resources, which are tapped consciously or unconsciously, and it thus continues to play an important role up to today. (Bertram Schefold)

FKH video
Bertram Schefold presents his research project »Chinese and European History of Economic Thought in Comparison« in a FKH video. The video was created during the lockdown to contain the corona pandemic in spring 2020.
Please watch the video here.

Scholarly profile of Bertram Schefold


In 1974 Bertram Schefold was appointed professor for economic theory in the economics department of Goethe University after receiving his doctorate in economics from the University of Basel in 1971. He has been a senior professor in Frankfurt since 2012 and has received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Tübingen and Macerata. In 2010 he was awarded the Thomas Guggenheim Prize in the History of Economics for his life work by Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Israel.

Webpage Goethe University:
Further information about Bertram Schefold can be found here.

Selected publications:
  1. Wirtschaftsstile. Bd. 1: Studien zum Verhältnis von Ökonomie und Kultur, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag 1994.
  2. Wirtschaftsstile. Bd. 2: Studien zur ökonomischen Theorie und zur Zukunft der Technik, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag 1995.
  3. Great Economic Thinkers from Antiquity to the Historical School, London/New York: Routledge 2016.
  4. Great Economic Thinkers from the Classicals to the Moderns, London/New York: Routledge 2017.

    Zum geplanten Forschungsprojekt:

  5. Vademecum zu dem Klassiker der chinesischen Wirtschaftsdebatten. Kommentarband zum Faksimile des 1501 erschienenen Drucks (Hongzhi 14) von Huan Kuan: Yantie Lun, Düsseldorf Verlag Wirtschaft und Finanzen 2002.