Economics serving society

An active relationship with the general public

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With the strong civic engagement of a number of its researchers, the Paris School of Economics has from the outset confirmed its commitment to placing economics at the service of society. In particular, this mission has resulted in the creation of multiple collaborations and the establishment of the Institute for Public Policy. Thus the foundation informs and appeals to all citizens, through the words and the work of researchers wholly implicated in public life.

Increasing collaborations

PSE is tasked with encouraging and facilitating collaboration between researchers and various actors in the economic and social sphere, including firms, ministries, institutions and federations. Collaborative efforts have thus multiplied and greatly diversified. They include chairs and research partnerships (cf. part 5), consultations – studies and evaluations – and are both European and international: between 40 and 50 partnership agreements are now signed every year, while this figure was around a dozen before the PSE constituent members came together.

“At PSE, the challenge every day is to confront theory with the facts, to understand better in order to (propose to) act. All that in an open institution where the projects of some nourish and respond to the projects of others” - Colin Majean (PPD 2010)

The « expertise » element is particularly salient. Since 2006, almost 150 contracts, totalling 15.4 million euros, were signed with more than 75 entities, including the World Bank, CNAM, Cour des comptes, Critéo, Danone Ecosystème, DJEPVA, FAO, Finance Watch, Fondation L’Oréal, Grand Lyon, Interamerican Development Bank, Mars, Ministère de la Santé, SCOR, Unicef and Veolia. These projects usually involve a specific country - France, India, Nigeria, Haïti - and around one in ten study larger zones of the world, such as Europe and sub-Saharan Africa

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Several studies by PSE researchers have featured in public debate in the past decade, including, for example :

Creation of the Institute for Public Policy

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Created ex nihilo in 2011 by PSE and developed in partnership with GENES, the Institute for Public Policy (IPP) aims to promote analysis and quantitative analysis of public policy. In doing so, it uses the most recent methods of economics research. In its production of numerous studies which it makes accessible through syntheses designed for the general public, IPP makes the link between research and the “consumers” of economic knowledge.
Several of IPP’s projects have had a large echo, including : What evolution for the unit cost of financial intermediation in Europe? ; Reforming family-related pension benefits ; The Cost of Grade Retention: An Evaluation ; Reforming French housing benefits ; The impact of the media on court decisions.
In addition, since 2014, IPP has been tasked with assembling and making publicly available all public policy legislation in France, with the aim of facilitating its evaluation, analysis and publication. These “Barèmes IPP” (IPP tax and benefit tables) constitute harmonised, diverse and precise sources, never before assembled in such coherent fashion.

Promoting “economics for everyone”

“Sometimes researchers do not see much outside academia and research. At PSE it’s different. Top academics encourage exchanges between disciplines and work environments. This was key for me and I think it is fundamental for any good economist inside or outside academia” - Andrea Garnero (PPD 2010, PhD 2015)

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Almost all PSE academic articles and research reports are available on or via the foundation website. Yet, this does not mean that the general public uses this access effectively. Gradually, and more intensively since 2015, PSE has developed a number of activities under the title “Economics for everyone”:

  • around 35 conferences, free, open to all and available in replay, have been organised in order to host economics personalities of the highest order: Emmanuel Saez on social mobility (2009 and 2014), Pascal Lamy on international trade (2010), Joseph Stiglitz on growth and crises (2012), Esther Duflo on questions of poverty (2011 and 2012), Daniel Kahneman on economics and psychology (2012), Rachel Kranton on identity and networks (2012), Philippe Aghion on innovation (2012), Pierre Moscovici on Europe and debt (2015), Branko Milanovic on inequality (2016), Kaushik Basu on development (2016), and Angus Deaton on randomised evaluations (2016), to name just a few
  • through a variety of communication media, advances in economic thinking, even the most complex, are presented to the greatest number. Thus, the series “5 papers… in 5 minutes!” has been published each month since 2013, consisting of clear and concise resumes of recent academic articles, and requiring no existing training in or knowledge of economics to comprehend.
  • What are the best ways to follow PSE’s “economics for everyone” ? Directly on our website, by subscribing to our mailing list, or by following PSE on the main social Medias: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Youtube.