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János Kornai is Allie S. Freed Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard University, and honorary professor emeritus of Corvinus University of Budapest.

He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europeae, and Foreign Member of the American, British, Bulgarian, Finnish, Russian and Swedish Academies. He has served as President of the Econometric Society, of the European Economic Association, and of the International Economic Association. He has received the highest Hungarian prizes for scholarship, as well as the Seidman Award (USA), the Humboldt Prize (Germany), the Erasmus Medal (Academia Europeae) and the Leontief Medal (Russia). He has also become Officer of the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (France). He has received honorary doctorates from 15 universities.

János Kornai’s research has focused on the critical analysis of the socialist system and post-socialist transition. After the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe his attention has partly turned to economic policy, especially to macroeconomic problems and the reform of the welfare state. His best known works are Overcentralization in Economic Administration (1957),Anti-Equilibrium (1971), Economics of Shortage (1980), The Road to a Free Economy (1990), The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism (1992), Highway and Byways (1995), Struggle and Hope (1997), Welfare, Choice, and Solidarity in Transition (co-author Karen Eggleston, 2001), By Force of Thought: Irregular Memoirs of an Intellectual Journey (2006), From Socialism to Capitalism (2008), Dynamism, Rivalry and the Surplus Economy (2013). His works have been translated into more than twenty languages.