Monday, December 7, 2015

Jean Tirole interviewed in the Financial Times

Tirole thinks both about French economists and the French economy:
French lessons from a Nobel Prize winner

"...Laffont and Tirole thought internationally. Tirole says: “We started teaching in English 20 years ago, when it was illegal.”
"...economists aren’t heard or understood much in France. Tirole explains: “In France, in most universities you specialise very early but you don’t learn any economics. France came to a market economy pretty late, too. If you think about France, a lot of the decisions were administrative.”
Would-be reformers such as Tirole or economy minister Emmanuel Macron get shouted down with the ultimate French insult: “Libéral!” This essentially means “Laissez-faire capitalist”. Tirole explains: “People don’t know what libéral means. The truth is I don’t know economists who are for laissez-faire, so to speak. They may be for more or less regulation.”
"Tirole sketches France’s looming economic triple whammy. ...Third, he says, the digital economy will quickly destroy many jobs. He adds, half-jokingly: “Maybe my job won’t exist any more. Maybe all teaching will be done from Cambridge, Mass.”
"But if the far-right leader Marine Le Pen becomes president in 2017, would that ruin his hopes for France? “Yes,” sighs Tirole. “It ruins the country’s image but also the country’s economics. Leaving the euro, nationalising firms, pouring more money into civil-service jobs, and stopping migrants and imports will make markets even more inefficient, will increase the public deficit, and we will lose the discipline of the euro. I don’t want to answer your question. I don’t want to think about it.”

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