Economics serving society

Opening Economics

The OSE Initiative is the realisation of PSE’s long-held ambition to open up economics – from the inside by deepening its central paradigm and from the outside by exploring its frontiers and connections with other disciplines.

The OSE Initiative is interdisciplinary and involves a variety of projects whose special strength is putting PSE researchers together with researchers from other disciplines in order to address and renew a specific problem.

Re-questioning and overcoming homo economicus

A paradigm organised largely around the notion of a homo economicus who is rational, asocial and atemporal, has proved remarkably powerful in explaining economic phenomena and understanding their mechanisms. If rightful criticisms have been made of it from time to time, it remains an important basis of economic analysis and the scope of its application has been progressively expanded. But the explosion of new data available – historic, administrative, location-specific, neurological and other – cannot help but have an impact on the economics discipline and invite a renewal of its central paradigm. The fact and implications of a limited rationality, of the role of subjectivity, of ethics, of the social, of history and of culture in the economic are all research directions that are likely to deepen some key conclusions derived from the main paradigm and also to surpass it.

Affirming a fruitful interdisciplinarity

This movement within the discipline should lead to a better exploration than has hitherto been possible of the potential frontier connections with the other social sciences (history, sociology, demography, social psychology, political science, philosophy) and other disciplines including not only the neurosciences and cognitive sciences but also medicine, at a moment when the Covid 19 crisis is undermining dogmas, and the environmental sciences (physics, biology, and geography), in an era when the ecological transition has become the greatest challenge to all our societies.

The OSE Initiative plays an incubating role for several interdisciplinary projects by giving them the specific support offered by the EUR PgSE, and previously through the Labex OSE. Its mission is to host and develop large interdisciplinary projects likely to lead to the renewal of a central problem for society. If they are fruitful, these collaborative projects will join the PSE’s core research programme, by becoming Centres or Chairs of interdisciplinary research.

Animating an intense scientific activity

Today, the OSE Initiative brings together collaborative projects, the Hospinnomics Chair and the Simiand Centre. Each research programme has its own aims and modalities, but all regroup international researchers with an interest in opening up their own fields in order to shift the frontiers of knowledge. OSE, through its research programmes, offers a great many seminars and colloquia, welcomes associate researchers, includes doctoral students and post-docs, and hosts associated teaching programmes and scientific partners. Bridges between these programmes create, inter alia, a dense network of interdisciplinary scientific links.

OSE collaborative projects

Four projects are currently active:

  • An integrated approach of economic decisions
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Holders : Nicolas Jacquemet and Jean-Marc Tallon. Presentation: In line with the expansion of the study of economic behavior beyond the logic of homo oeconomicus alone, according to the research program known as behavioral economics, based in particular on work in psychology, the time has come to also add cognitive and neurobiologists to PSE to understand the complexity and constraints of the human brain that shape economic behavior and decisions. The following are then at the center of phenomena that are nowadays often peripheral to economic analysis: memory, emotions, perception, learning, (in)attention. This project is part of the continuation of the collaborative project “Behavioural approaches to strategic and social interactions” by extending it more broadly to cognitivists and neurobiologists. Go to the dedicated webpage


  • Urban Economics, History and Society
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Holder : Camille Hémet. Presentation: The study of urban issues has been booming over the last 10 years, and the frontier of knowledge is being pushed forward at an increasing speed, particularly due to the exploitation of new sources of geolocalized data and associated methods. Two dimensions appear particularly promising to help advance the field: the historical dimension and the societal dimension, and their interaction. These dimensions are at the crossroads of several disciplines, including economics, history, sociology and geography. To see the outlook and the programme of this project, follow this link. Go to the dedicated webpage.


  • Society and Environment
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Holders : Lucas Chancel and François Libois.
Presentation: Environmental issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion and pollution constitute systemic risks for our societies, as numerous international studies on these subjects have shown. Faced with these challenges, the social sciences, and economics in particular, have a major role to play in better identifying and measuring vulnerabilities but also opportunities, in order to outline responses adapted to situations of multiple constraints (social, political, geographical or financial). Go to the dedicated webpage


  • Economics - Philosophy
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Holders : Marc Fleurbaey and Jean-François Laslier. Presentation: Economics and philosophy interact on several subjects: social justice, collective choice and democracy, rationality of decision. This interaction works in a sometimes very direct form (co-signatures) but more often in the form of mutual inspiration. The major trends in political philosophy inspire the principles of equity introduced in economics and the economic models of decision-making under uncertainty inspire philosophers interested in rationality or inequality. Exchanges take place at the level of theory as well as of applications, particularly with regard to the most current problems of public economics (environment, climate, population). Go to the dedicated webpage

The hospinnomics Chair

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AP-HP and PSE have joined forces in 2014 to create hospinnomics, a chair in health economics focused on innovation in hospitals, with two main objectives: to orient academic research in health economics towards more pragmatism (“Policy-oriented research”) and to enable health actors to base their decisions on scientific evaluations (“Evidence-based policy”).

The Center for Economic and Social History François Simiand

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History as approached by the Centre d’histoire économique et sociale François Simiand consists in the analysis of economic and social phenomena considered in their historical duration. This formulation is not self-evident and involves a series of structuring analytical hypotheses. The Centre has a twofold ambition: first, to promote a historical approach to the economy; second, to contribute to opening up economic history in order to make it fully social.