Distinguished faculty


Professor Karel Kouba

* 1927 - † 2013


Recollections (in Czech)

Prof. Karel Kouba was one of the Founding Fathers of the Institute of Economic Studies. His rich academic life mirrors the bright and dark sides of the history of Czechoslovakia. In the 1960s he co-authored a book Economic Growth in Czechoslovakia that sparked wide interest across the world over the perfomance of socialist economies. In 1967-68, he was a Visiting Professor at the University of California. In the 1970s he had to leave academia and returned to economics at the end of 1980s. He has earned recognition both home and abroad.

A quote from recollections:

"Our friendship started more than forty years ago, during the harsh years of repression. I heard about his courageous role in the Prague Spring, and about the revenge set against him. Karel, the gifted academic scholar was put out of the way, in a low-grade bureaucratic job – but his spirit and intellectual alertness remained unchanged. I wrote him a letter, he answered, and from then on we exchanged letters many times.

Later, following the Velvet Revolution in Eastern Europe, we were finally able to meet in person. I remember vividly the time he spent in my country, as a Fellow of Collegium Budapest where we worked together. Then I had the good fortune of having him and his dear wife, Mirka, many times in our home. Later on there was no visit to Prague without meeting him and discussing our mutual problems.

Karel was a brilliant scholar, with a great talent for economic analysis. Everyone around him was impressed by his calm and balanced approach to controversial issues. And what is even more important in my order of values: he was a warmhearted good man and a true and loyal friend, ready to help anyone in need of his assistance."

János Kornai
Professor of Economics Emeritus
Harvard University; Corvinus University of Budapest


McKinsey & Company