Vertical networks or clusters: what tool for industrial policy?

By Jean-Luc Gaffard

The concept of a “vertical network” [filière] is back in the spotlight and is playing the role of an instrument of the new industrial policy. A working document of the Fabrique de l’Industrie [Manufacturing Industry], ‘What use are ‘vertical networks’?” (Bidet-Mayer and Tubal, 2013) recognizes that the concept has the virtue of helping to identify good practices and develop their application in relationships between businesses and between business and government. However, the same paper concludes by questioning the merits of a concept that emphasizes an approach to industrial organization that is more technical than entrepreneurial. Continue reading “Vertical networks or clusters: what tool for industrial policy?”

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Is nationalization a trap or a tool of industrial policy?

By Jean-Luc Gaffard

The closure of the Florange blast furnaces in the Moselle region by ArcelorMittal and the French government’s hunt for a buyer led it to temporarily consider nationalizing the site, that is, not only the production of crude steel, but also the cold forming line. The threat of nationalization was clearly wielded with a view to forcing the hand of the Mittal group so that it would sell the operations to another firm. If a nationalisation like this had been carried out, it would have been a penalty-nationalization, i.e. a sanction of behaviour by the Mittal group deemed contrary to the public interest. Apart from this unusual feature, it would have also raised issues about competition. Continue reading “Is nationalization a trap or a tool of industrial policy?”

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The citizen must be the foundation of any industrial policy — even a free market one

By Sarah Guillou

The purpose of industrial policy is to direct productive specialization towards sectors that are deemed strategic for well-being or economic growth. This means recognizing that productive specialization is important for growth. But what criteria should be used to determine the importance of a given sector? The argument developed here is that there are no sound criteria that do not refer to the collective preferences of present and future citizens. Continue reading “The citizen must be the foundation of any industrial policy — even a free market one”

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A carbon tax at Europe’s borders: Fasten your seat belts!

By Éloi Laurent and Jacques Le Cacheux

How can the current deadlock in international climate negotiations be resolved? By an optimal mix of incentives and constraints. In the case that currently opposes the European Union and the international air carriers, the EU is legitimately bringing this winning combination to bear by imposing what amounts to a carbon tax on its borders. It is brandishing a constraint, the threat of financial penalties, to encourage an industry-wide agreement that is long overdue among the airlines to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Continue reading “A carbon tax at Europe’s borders: Fasten your seat belts!”

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“Buy French”: From the slogan to the reality

By Jean-Luc Gaffard, Sarah Guillou, Lionel Nesta

The current election campaign is lending weight to simplistic proposals like the slogan “buy French”, which evokes the need for France to re-industrialize. And to accomplish this, what could be simpler than to convince the population to buy native products designated with a special label? This is also more politically correct than advocating a straightforward return to protectionism. Continue reading ““Buy French”: From the slogan to the reality”

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