The Chair of Economics at Clausthal University of Technology was established in 1999. Since then, it has been under the direction of Professor Dr. Mathias Erlei.

Together with the Chair of Macroeconomics, the Chair of Economics is responsible for all mandatory courses in economics in both economics-oriented and non-economic majors at Clausthal University of Technology. 

The aim of our research consists basically in rendering the abstract neoclassical system, especially microeconomics, better applicable to practical and political issues. Therefore, our ultimate objective is to establish a connection between economic theories and economic reality.    

The Clausthal Experimental Economics Laboratory ExECUTe, which is co-managed by the Chair of Economics, serves us as an important support. In numerous research and teaching experiments, we examine the behavior of real persons in decision situations and check in how far complex theories stand the test when they are exposed to imperfectly rational agents. In this context, especially theoretical approaches of the New Institutional Economics, which allow for asymmetric information and bounded rationality, constitute an important supplement to neoclassical economics.      

Furthermore, we stress the fact that all economic phenomena take place in time and must therefore be viewed as processes. The microeconomic equilibrium concept does not embrace these processes. When economic science wants to contribute to a deeper understanding of the market economy and to deliver realistic advice to economic policy, however, it has to provide an answer to the question as to how and under which conditions equilibrium is attained. In this regard, capital theory and entrepreneurship are two central research areas.

One can only understand the tendency towards equilibrium if one makes allowance for a force that organizes the different production factors and thus makes them work together for a common goal. In modern market economies, this force is the entrepreneur who orients his actions by prices and price margins which, on their part, carry information on societal scarcities and needs. 

The importance of a realistic capital theory has vehemently come to the fore since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2007-08. One of the causes why numerous and prestigious economists have been taken by surprise by the events must be seen in the reluctance of conventional economics to take the capital or production structure into account. Usually, capital is dealt with only in macroeconomics, and there it constitutes, roughly speaking, basically a homogeneous and featureless entity. Very often, it is overlooked that a considerable part of the market process takes place in the sphere of production. Every enterprise obtains numerous inputs from other enterprises which, themselves, obtain input from still other enterprises and so on. In order for the market process to run orderly and smoothly, there must be a tendency towards equilibrium throughout the whole production chain. Therefore, we regard capital theory as a part of microeconomics. We examine, on the one hand, the requirements that must be met for a tendency towards equilibrium in the capital structure and, on the other hand, the conditions that lead to a disruption or even an inversion of this tendency.


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