What is a Left economics? (Or, why economists disagree)

By Guillaume Allègre

What is a Left economics? In an opinion column published in the newspaper Libération on 9 June 2015 (“la concurrence peut servir la gauche” [“Competition can serve the Left”], Jean Tirole and Etienne Wasmer reply that to be progressive means “sharing a set of values and distributional objectives”. But, as Brigitte Dormont, Marc Fleurbaey and Alain Trannoy meaningfully remark (“Non, le marché n’est pas l’ennemi de la gauche” [“No, the market is not the enemy of the Left”]) in Libération on 11 June 2015, reducing progressive politics to the redistribution of income leaves something out. Continue reading “What is a Left economics? (Or, why economists disagree)”

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When the OECD persists in its mistakes…

By Henri Sterdyniak

The OECD has published an economic policy note, “Choosing fiscal consolidation compatible with growth and equity” [1]). There are two reasons why we find this note interesting. The OECD considers it important, as it is promoting it insistently; its chief economist has, for instance, come to present it to France’s Commissariat à la Stratégie et à la Prospective [Commission for Strategy and Forecasts]. The subject is compelling: can we really have a fiscal austerity policy that drives growth and reduces inequality? Recent experience suggests otherwise. The euro zone has been experiencing zero growth since it embarked on a path of austerity. An in-depth study by the IMF [2] argued that, “fiscal consolidations have had redistributive effects and increased inequality, by reducing the share of wages and by increasing long-term unemployment”. So is there some miracle austerity policy that avoids these two problems? Continue reading “When the OECD persists in its mistakes…”

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Plea for a growth pact: the sound and fury hiding a persistent disagreement

By Jean-Luc Gaffard and Francesco Saraceno

The emphasis on the need to complement fiscal restraint by measures to boost growth, which is rising in part due to the electoral debate in France, is good news, not least because it represents a belated recognition that austerity is imposing an excessively high price on the countries of southern Europe. Continue reading “Plea for a growth pact: the sound and fury hiding a persistent disagreement”

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Must balancing the public finances be the main goal of economic policy

By Henri Sterdyniak

The financial crisis of 2007-2012 caused a sharp rise in public deficits and debt as States had to intervene to save the financial system and support economic activity, and especially as they experienced a steep drop in tax revenues due to falling GDP. In early 2012, at a time when they are far from having recovered from the effects of the crisis (which cost them an average of 8 GDP points compared to the pre-crisis trend), they face a difficult choice: should they continue to support activity, or do whatever it takes to reduce public deficits and debt? Continue reading “Must balancing the public finances be the main goal of economic policy”

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