Note: The name is properly spelled Jan Švejnar

Prof. Jan Svejnar (Oct. 2, 1952 - ) is a Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. In addition to a number of positions at the University, the Prague-born Professor ran for - and nearly won - the Presidency of the Czech Republic in 2008. He is currently at Columbia University.


Jan Svejnar was born in Communist Czechoslovakia in 1952, coming to the United States in exile with his family in 1970, at age 17. He received a degree Industrial and Labor Relationships from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University. Svejnar taught at Cornell and the University of Pittsburgh before coming to Michigan.

Prof. Svejnar's wife was the late Ross School of Business Professor Katherine Terrell (d. 2009); they have children Dan and Laura.

University Positions

Prof. Svejnar held the following positions at the University of Michigan:

He formerly served as the Executive Director of the William Davidson Institute at the Ross School of Business.

According to his University webpage, Prof. Svejnar's research "focuses on the determinants and effects of (a) government policies on firms and labor and capital markets, (b) corporate and national governance and performance, and (c) entrepreneurship."

Political Life

Prof. Svejnar's new appointment would have been near Way-Way-Way-East Quad.

Having served as the economic adviser to former Czech President Vaclav Havel for over a decade, Prof. Svejnar was approached in December 2007 by a group of Czech Senators unhappy with incumbent Vaclav Klaus. While polls showed Svejnar with an edge in popular opinion shortly before the election, the election is by the Czech Parliament, rather than popular vote. After three ballots by the Parliament, Klaus managed to retain the Presidency.

Prof. Svejnar's differences with his opponent apparently revolved around economic issues: Svejnar favored further integration with the European Union, including adoption of the Euro, and advocated for steps to combat climate change, while Klaus opposes the EU and does not believe that human activity has caused global warming.