How Nobel prize-winner Jean Tirole led the private sector takeover of French economic studies


Earlier this week the Nobel prize for economics went to French economist Jean Tirole, who the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences described as “one of the most influential economists of our time”. Tirole was awarded the prize for his work on market power and regulation of large firms’ monopolistic practices, and the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy announced that “this year’s prize in economic sciences is about taming powerful firms”. But amid the wide acclaim for Tirole in France and abroad, Mediapart economics and business writer Laurent Mauduit advises caution. Here he argues why Tirole, the founder of the prestigious Toulouse School of Economics, is one of the principal champions of the rampant private sector takeover of economics teaching and research in France, to the detriment of the science and the public higher education system.

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It was with no great surprise that the award to Jean Tirole of “the Bank of Sweden prize in economic sciences in memory of Alfred Noble”, (more commonly known as the Nobel prize for economics), was accompanied by a loud chorus of praise for the 61-year-old French economist.