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At 31, this professor at the London School of Economics is the winner of this 22nd edition of the Prize created in 2000 by “Le Monde” and the Cercle des Economistes.
By The Circle of Economists
By awarding the Prize for the best young economist, Le Monde and the Cercle des economistes wish to distinguish, among young French economists, the one who seems best to have advanced the concepts, ideas and proposals in terms of economic policy or decision making within companies.
In this year 2021, for the award of the prize and the choice of three nominations, the jury received 42 nominations. Sixteen candidates are posted abroad and 26 occupy positions of professor or researcher in France. There were only 11 women. Finally, among the four laureates, three have defended their thesis and are posted abroad, only one is in Paris.
It is legitimate to wonder whether the candidates’ research agendas cover our questions as to the current disturbances of the economies, which are not reduced to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. As in the past, the response is positive, as evidenced by the contributions of previous winners, in a book published in 2020 by the Cercle des economistes, Agir face aux déséquations du monde (Odile Jacob).
Among the work of the laureates, we can first mention the examination of innovation dynamics, their factors, in particular the social origin of inventors, and their macroeconomic effects. But also quasi-experimental analyzes, which mobilize very fine databases (patents, types of products or firms), the differentiated impact of innovations on the relative prices of goods, and hence on inequalities.
We should also highlight the work on the efficiency and fairness of criminal justice in the United States, which combines analyzes relating to behavioral economics, in terms of cognitive biases in the decisions of popular jurors, and econometric treatments ” randomized ”[from a randomly selected sample] demonstrating the ineffectiveness of tightening criminal policies on delinquency.
Let us also note the study of democratic processes in the face of populist drifts, with “randomized” experiments making it possible to identify the conditions for participation in elections and the effects of tools at the service of electoral competition (role of door-to-door or Internet) on the votes. Finally, in the field of health economics and epidemiology, we should note the analysis of the effects of infectious diseases, in particular malaria, on development, human capital, poverty and inequalities in mortality.
If we look at the research programs of all the candidates, three central themes emerge: questions relating to the labor market (wage formation, unemployment, discrimination) and to various forms of inequalities (income, heritage, education, gender, spatial inequalities, etc.); the imperfections of finance and the choices of monetary policy or bank regulation in connection with the risk of financial crises; and, finally, the problems of taxation or the public economy, without addressing head-on the question of the division between the roles of the state and those of the markets.
Environmental and health challenges are receiving increasing attention, but still insufficient. The predominantly empirical orientation, already observed in the past, is being confirmed, with an increasingly marked use of big data, individual or granular data (households, companies, innovations, asset prices, etc.) making it possible to report of the diversity of behaviors and perceptions, contrary to the hypothesis of Homo oeconomicus.
Beyond academic research, it is now for economists to consider possible post-pandemic scenarios
Note, however, two gray areas. Questions of specialization, economic geography and international trade, even the hypothesis of deglobalization in the face of new imperatives of sovereignty and resilience, are not addressed by the candidates. Questions about the extent and consequences of dominant positions in the markets, the effects of technological oligopolies and the implications that this generates in terms of competition rules do not seem to receive much attention, like everything else that bears, moreover, on the institutions and, above all, on the economics of the company which are mainly concerned, in France, the management sciences, more than the economists.
Obviously, young French economists are not working on pinheads or epiphenomena. They undoubtedly contribute to the richness of the public debate. Because beyond academic research, it is now for economists to consider possible post-pandemic scenarios. From July 2 to 4, the Economic Meetings of Aix-en-Provence will be devoted to this subject, under the title “Seizing the future, together”, in order to offer, once again, a space for dialogue and confrontation between economists and with society.
The Prize for the best young economist, created in 2000 by Le Monde and the Cercle des economistes, aims to recognize the work of a French economist or one assigned to France, under the age of 41. The aim was to distinguish not only the excellence of the academic output of young French economists, but also their contribution to public debate and economic expertise. On this basis, the members of the Circle of economists evaluated the applications and the final jury, chaired by André Cartapanis and associating equally the representatives of the Circle of economists and the newspaper Le Monde, awarded the Prize and awarded the three nominations.
Aurélie Ouss: “Judicial policy under scrutiny of the economy to” make justice more equitable and efficient “
Vincent Pons: “It is impossible to understand the changes in the economy without considering the political shocks in society”
Josselin Thuilliez: “We are studying the effects of diseases and epidemics on poverty, inequalities, work…”
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