Edoardo Campanella, 20 February 2011

At the February 2011 European Council meeting, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy called on their Eurozone counterparts to sign up to a new pact for closer economic coordination. This column argues that introducing constitutional fiscal rules across Europe would be an important step towards fiscal sustainability, but that their rigidity should be offset by a more flexible economic design.

Pierre Cahuc, Stéphane Carcillo, 02 February 2011

In October 2007 France introduced an exemption on income tax and social security contributions for overtime work. In the second of two columns on the labour market, the authors show that this reform has had no significant impact on hours worked and that it induced workers and employers to manipulate the overtime hours they declare in order to optimise their tax situation.

Laurent Gobillon, Thierry Magnac, Harris Selod, 24 January 2011

The employment effects of enterprise zones are widely studied but remain uncertain. This column examines the impact of recent tax incentives designed to attract businesses to poor residential areas around Paris. It finds that while unemployment decreases, the costs of the programme leave its efficacy open to interpretation.

Samuel Bentolila, Pierre Cahuc, Juan Dolado, Thomas Le Barbanchon, 22 January 2011

Since the global crisis, unemployment in Spain has soared to 20%, double the EU average. This column compares Spanish unemployment with that of France and argues that differences in employment protection legislation account for nearly half of the dramatic rise in unemployment in Spain. Its findings add further support to calls for a single labour contract in the country.

Douglas Irwin, 20 September 2010

A large body of research has linked the gold standard to the severity of the Great Depression. This column argues that while economic historians have focused on the role of tightened US monetary policy, not enough attention has been given to the role of France, whose share of world gold reserves soared from 7% in 1926 to 27% in 1932. It suggests that France’s policies directly account for about half of the 30% deflation experienced in 1930 and 1931.

Daria Taglioni, Lionel Fontagné, Guillaume Gaulier, Vincent Vicard, Jean-Charles Bricongne, 05 November 2009

Global trade contracted quickly and severely during the crisis. This column, using data on French firms, shows that both small and large exporters were similarly hurt, but the impact of the crisis varied across industries. Intermediate goods, equipment, and the automotive industry were hit hardest. Sectors more dependent on external finance suffered larger export drops.

Nicolas Berman, Thierry Mayer, Philippe Martin, 22 October 2009

The prices of tradable goods are remarkably insensitive to exchange rate movements. This column provides a firm-level explanation. In response to a depreciation, high-performance firms raise their mark-ups rather than their export volumes, and their choices dominate the aggregate export variables.

Robert Ophèle, 11 February 2009

The recent rapid fall in inflation, amidst a financial crisis and a very sharp economic slowdown, has raised the spectre of deflation. But, this column argues, current dynamics in France and the euro area are actually characteristic of a much more positive disinflationary trend, resulting from a temporary correction of certain prices, such as energy prices.

Pierre-Philippe Combes, Miren Lafourcade, Jacques-François Thisse, Jean-Claude Toutain, 05 December 2008

This column traces the economic evolution of France’s regions over the last 140 years to test the predictions of new economy geography. Both manufacturing and services experienced a bell-shaped curve of spatial development, in which spatial concentration initially increased and then decreased. While transport costs played a key role, positive spillovers are an increasingly important source of agglomeration gains.

Farid Toubal, Fabrice Defever, 26 July 2008

Outsourcing has been much discussed in terms of its impacts on employment and growth. But how, why, and where do firms outsource parts of their production? This column presents empirical evidence that tests theoretical models of global sourcing

Gilles Saint-Paul, 01 February 2008

France has agreed a raft of labour market reforms. Here one of France’s most market-oriented labour economists evaluates the likely impact, concluding that it’s an improvement, but heightens incentives to become unemployed.

Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, 25 November 2007

France is in the throes of a vicious circle. Corporatism and state intervention undermine solidarity, destroy social dialogue and reinforce mutual distrust, thus feeding demands for more corporatism and state intervention. Here are some ideas on how to fix it.

Jean Tirole, 13 October 2014

This column by the 2014 Nobelist Jean Tirole was originally posted on 16 July 2007. It gives his views on reforms that are as necessary today as they were in 2007. Meeting the expectations of its citizens will require the French state to become more effective. A four-pronged approach is required: restructuring, competition, evaluation and accountability.

Renaud Dehousse, 08 June 2007

France is keen on a new treaty for two reasons – its desire to be a leader in EU issues, and Sarkozy’s eagerness to clear his desk. The road to a treaty, however, is paved with difficulties.

Daniel Cohen, 01 November 2004

Written in 2003: France fails to recognise the new world of which it is already a part; French state capitalism is dead, and the French find it hard to come to terms with its passing. The thin stream of consensus-based reforms allowed the French to live in one world while thinking that they lived in another.

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