prof. Dr. Ing. Jan Libich

Bearer Neuron Impuls 2012 – Social Sciences

He analyzes and models the impact of population aging on budget, currency and economic growth. It also compares different variants of pension systems. From these analyzes, it compiles optimal proposals for economic reforms.

He graduated from the University of Economics in Prague and then received a doctorate in economics from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Since 2005 he has been lecturing at La Trobe University in Melbourne and since 2013 also at VŠB-TU Ostrava. He returned to the Czech Republic on time thanks to a grant from the Neuron Endowment Fund to support science. His main research topics are monetary and fiscal policy, the sustainability of public finances and applied game theory. His research and lectures also cover, for example, the economics of sports and effective university studies. In the online section of Hospodářské noviny called Ekonomix Jan Libicha, it presents useful economic research that can help raise awareness among both politicians and the general public. In an effort to link research and business practice, he is filming hour-long video interviews with leading economists and politicians in Australia.

The research of the economist Jan Libich was the subject of the first Neuron Stories meeting, which uses animation and infographics to present the achievements of Czech scientists.

Will we retire without a pension?

Watch the animated video and browse the inspirational infographics.

Interview with Jan Libich

„Within a generation or two, most developed countries, including the Czech Republic, will be on the verge of bankruptcy. There is a risk that the current ongoing financing of the health and pension system will not change, "says Dr. Jan Libich, who in 2012 received one million crowns from the Neuron Endowment Fund for his economic research. Bankruptcy warnings provide evidence of population developments. For example, 40 years ago in Czechoslovakia there were six to seven people of working age per senior. At present, there are only three to four people, and in the middle of the century there will be only less than two people per pensioner. "Governments in most European countries have so far only closed budget gaps by raising taxes and short-term spending cuts, but they do not address the core of the problem. As the percentage of working people in relation to pensioners falls unstoppably, the state treasury lacks money every year. "

What was the main topic of your research?

I dealt with the impact of the demographic trend of population aging on the economy, especially on public finances, inflation, and GDP. The research studies that were the main goal of the project are, of course, not very clear to the general public. That is why I tried to communicate the results of my research through articles in Hospodářské noviny. At the same time, I invited renowned economists to study and filmed interviews with them on current topics of economic policy. In November, my book entitled "Real-World Economic Policy" will be published in Australia, which draws on recordings and tries to inform politicians about the right political and economic measures.

As part of your project, you have given several lectures, written a number of professional studies and popular articles in the press, and recorded several video interviews. What attracted people the most?

Probably the greatest interest among the public was aroused by my performance at the Science Café in Prague, entitled Are we facing state bankruptcy, hyperinflation, the collapse of the euro or zero growth? In it, I discussed the four main macroeconomic threats and their context. I later covered this topic in the study The Economic Future of Europe published in January this year in the journal World Economics.

What topic was best and which was worst received by the public? How do you explain these differences?

Generally speaking, topics such as economic growth or financial literacy are better received by the public than sovereign debt unsustainability or global warming. The reason is obvious. While the first category of topics reports rather good news, the second implies that people need to change their behavior and the decisions of their politicians, otherwise there will be serious economic, social or environmental problems. And unfortunately, it's probably human nature to turn a blind eye to unpopular facts and avoid changes in established behavior.

How will you apply the knowledge from the Czech Republic in your further scientific research at the University of Australia?

The Czech Republic offers many lessons for other countries, unfortunately not always positive. Take, for example, the Nečas government's efforts to reform the pension system. This is essential to prevent the system from collapsing as a result of declining birth rates and increasing life expectancy. But unfortunately, the reform was poorly designed, and even worse explained to the public, which caused its unpopularity and subsequent abolition. The pension reform in the Czech Republic also failed because it was launched during the economic crisis. Such long-term changes need to be made when the economy is doing well ... I hope other countries will learn from it.

What was the response of our botched pension reform among economists outside the Czech Republic? For example, has it already been included in economics textbooks as a deterrent?

Not yet, because more countries, such as Poland, are retreating a bit from the pension reform.

Did the project meet your expectations or would you like to continue?

The project has certainly met my expectations, and I continue in a few started directions. Among other things, he also contributed to my return to the Czech Republic, where I now work at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Mining and Technology in Ostrava.

How administratively demanding was the drawing of funds from the Neuron Endowment Fund?

The administration of the project, including the grant application, was certainly less demanding than at other institutions. Everyone at the Neuron Endowment Fund was very helpful and reliable, thanks a lot to them. I strongly encourage researchers in various fields to consider applying for support for their project from the Neuron Endowment Fund.


Jan Libich in media