Chair of Microeconomics



Prof. em. Arnis Vilks

Research Associate


Research Areas

  • Logical and philosophical foundations of economic theory; in particular foundations of mathematical economics
  • The notion of rationality, utility, and happiness
  • The weltanschauung of the Western world, its roots and effects in the global economy
  • Development economics

There are hundreds of books to study,
but you can only think for yourself.

Prof. em. Arnis Vilks
Holder of the Chair of Microeconomics (1995-2022)

What we do

Microeconomics appears to be a huge collection of models – ranging from basic models of optimization and markets to sophisticated ones that try to spell out the kind of information and reasoning that would entail behaviour according to specific game-theoretic solution concepts. However, it is our philosophy that models are not there for their own sake, but should help to better understand, and maybe solve, real-world problems.

The issues one can try to elucidate by means of microeconomic modelling are again manifold – ranging from efficient allocation of resources and managerial decision-making under competitive conditions to conflict and cooperation in international politics.

Prof. em. Dr. Arnis Vilks

Having studied Economics, Philosophy, Mathematics, and Political Science at the University of Hamburg, after a Visiting Fellowship at Cambridge University, and a Professorship in Latvia – the home of his parents – Arnis Vilks was among the first three professors to be appointed at the re-established HHL in 1995. Until 2022 he held the Chair of Microeconomics, served as Dean of HHL twice (2000-2005 and ad interim 2010-2011), and did research and teaching in a number of different places – at Stanford University, the Australian National University in Canberra, Waikato University in New Zealand, but also in Lanzhou and Shanghai in China, at the Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone,  and in Ethiopia, where he served as a so-called “Tandem Dean” at Mekelle University from 2013 to 2014.

Prof. Vilks research interests have always covered the logical, philosophical, and methodological foundations of Economics, but increasingly also issues of globalization and development economics. Addressing the (German-speaking) educated lay public, he reflected on connections between science, economics, ethics, and religion in his 2013 book “Meditationen über Gott und die Welt und das Geld“.    

In January 2022, Prof. Dr. Arnis Vilks held his Farewell Lecture at HHL and was awarded the “Professor Emeritus” title.

If you are interested in an interview or a press photo, please contact Elisa Vetter (Media Relations Manager).


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