Is the decline of industry due to the growth of services?

By Sarah Guillou

On Friday, April 8 2016, the Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) began a series of quarterly seminars on the analysis of France’s productive network. The purpose is to bring together researchers and discussion of the situation, the diversity and the heterogeneity of the companies making up France’s production system. This discussion is now being fed by the increasing use of business data. We hope in this way to enrich the analysis of the strong and weak points in the country’s production fabric, with a view to guiding the development of public policies aimed at strengthening it.[1] Continue reading “Is the decline of industry due to the growth of services?”

Share Button

The French economy on the road to recovery

by Hervé Péléraux

The publication of the INSEE’s business surveys on October 22 confirms the French economy’s positive situation in the second half of 2015, suggesting that the negative performance in the second quarter of 2015 (0%) will turn out to have been merely “an air pocket” after the strong growth seen in the first quarter (+0.7%). The business climate in industry has exceeded its long-term average for the seventh month in a row, and the service sector has been recovering rapidly since May 2015 and has climbed back to its average, the highest level in four years (Figure 1). The business climate in the construction sector nevertheless is still suffering from the crisis that hit it, but its downward trend halted at the end of 2014; despite monthly hiccups, the sector has begun a slow recovery that could signal the end of its woes in the coming quarters. Continue reading “The French economy on the road to recovery”

Share Button

How to read the Alstom case

By Jean-Luc Gaffard

The situation of Alstom has hit the headlines since the company executives announced their intention to sell the energy branch to General Electric and to carry out a restructuring that strongly resembles a unit sale. The government reacted strongly to what it saw as a fait accompli, seeking another buyer, namely Siemens, with a view to creating one or more European companies in a sector considered strategic, along the lines of Airbus – before it came round to the General Electric solution, which in the meantime had improved in terms of both the amount paid for the buy-out and the arrangements for the future industrial organization. These events, important as they are, should not obscure the more general fact of ongoing deindustrialization, which is taking the form, among others, of the break-up of certain large companies, and which is resulting from inconsistencies in the governance of what French capitalism has become today. Continue reading “How to read the Alstom case”

Share Button

Europe’s control of public aid: good or bad for industry?

By Sarah Guillou

Following a meeting of the Ministers of Industry in Brussels on 20 February 2014, Arnaud Montebourg criticized the European Commission’s control of aid, which he considers too strict at a time when industry needs assistance. He wants aid for energy-intensive industries to receive an exemption due to competition from US companies that have much lower energy costs (estimated, on average, at one-third of the cost in Europe). More generally, Arnaud Montebourg was very critical of Joaquin Almunia, the European Commissioner for Competition. So is the Minister of Industrial Renewal (Redressement productif) right to castigate the control of State aid by the European Commission? Continue reading “Europe’s control of public aid: good or bad for industry?”

Share Button

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?”

Share Button

Competitiveness and industrial demand: The difficulties facing the French-German couple

Jean-Luc Gaffard

The obsession with competitiveness has returned to centre stage with the election campaign. This reflects the reality that French companies are indeed suffering a loss of competitiveness, which is behind the deterioration in foreign trade for almost a decade. This loss is clear vis-à-vis the emerging markets and explains the trend towards relocating abroad. It is also clear vis-à-vis firms from other developed countries, mainly in the euro zone and in particular German companies. This latter situation is especially serious, as it challenges the coherence of European construction (cf. OFCE, note 19: Competitiveness and industrial development: a European challenge in French). Continue reading “Competitiveness and industrial demand: The difficulties facing the French-German couple”

Share Button