The Polish Economic Institute is a public economic think-tank with a ninety-year tradition.
In 1926, amid interest in economic cycles, Polish economist, social activist and communist-era opposition figure Edward Lipiński proposed the establishment of an Institute for Research on Economic Cycles attached to the Central Statistical Office (GUS) in Warsaw, based on the institute at Harvard University. It was founded in 1928 as the Institute for Research on Economic Cycles and Prices. Professor Lipiński served as its director until the outbreak of World War II.
The pre-war Institute provided the Ministry for Industry and Trade with reliable analysis, with an Academic Council made up of experts, businessmen and officials setting the direction for research. The Institute’s first research directors, renowned economists Ludwik Landau and Marek Breit, fulfilled its statutory postulates. Access to the Bank of Poland’s and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s data on factory reports enabled them to conduct research on Poland’s balance of payments, the structure of sales in the automotive industry, price regulation and economic history. Monthly reports from the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection helped them monitor the labour market, especially unemployment and working conditions. One of its leading economists was Michał Kalecki. His Próba teorii and Szacunek dochodu społecznego w r. 1929, written with Landau, are among the most important Polish economic analyses of the 20th Century.
By combining research on economic cycles with research on economic structure, the Institute had a broader scope than the one at Harvard. Its staff attracted and trained talented young economists, which made it – alongside the Warsaw School of Economics and the Society of Economists and Statisticians – a leading institution promoting modern economic thought, beyond methodological and theoretical considerations. At the time, its pioneering work on the size and distribution of national income were probably the only attempt worldwide to provide a detailed breakdown of national income by social class.
After World War II, it took years for the Institute to re-establish itself. It was not until 1961 that a Centre for Research on Economic Cycles and Foreign Trade Prices was established, harking back to pre-war traditions. In 1962, it started publishing the series Prace i Materiały and Zeszyty Statystyczno-Ekonomiczne, the latter published in cooperation with GUS. Witold Trompczyński and Wiesław Rydygier played a significant role in strengthening the Centre’s position. In 1969, the ministerial centre was transformed into the Institute for Research on Economic Cycles and Foreign Trade Prices, conducting research – theoretically and empirically – on Polish trade efficiency. Its economists also analysed changes in the commodity and geographical structure of trade (Polish and international) and their relationship with national income.
In 1983, the Institute for the Internal Market and Consumption was established following the transformation and merging of other economic institutes. It was directed by economists Tadeusz Sztucki, Teresa Pałaszewska-Reindl, Marian Strużycki, Leon Koźmiński, Andrzej K. Koźmiński, Janusz Beksiak, Brunon Górecki, Alicja Jusińska and Andrzej Spoćka.
Its alumni also include Henryka Bochniarz, Jerzy Eysymontt, Dariusz Ledworowski, Andrzej Olechowski, Dariusz Rosati, Witold Trzeciakowski, Janusz Kaczurba, Ryszard Michalski, Mirosław F. Zieliński, Franciszek Kubiczek, Józef Oleński and Bohdan Wyżnikiewicz.
In 2007, the Institute for Market, Consumption and Business Cycle Research was established following the merging of the Institute for the Internal Market and Consumption and the Institute for Economic Cycles and Foreign Trade Prices. Ten years later, it was made a state research institute, studying market development in Poland and other EU countries, changes in consumer consumption and preferences, and global economic cycles.
On 22 September 2018, the law on the Polish Economic Institute entered force, transforming the Institute for Market, Consumption and Business Cycle Research – National Research Institute into the Polish Economic Institute. It provides analysis and expertise for implementing the Strategy for Responsible Development and helps popularise Polish economic and social research in Poland and internationally.