The incredible success of French economists in the United States

Duflo, Saez, Zucman, Piketty, Philippon, Blanchard … The "Frenchies" and their work are fashionable across the Atlantic. Back on this "French moment".

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Thomas Philippon, professor of finance at New York University in an interview with Bloomberg on August 24, 2018.
Thomas Philippon, Professor of Finance at New York University in an interview with Bloomberg, August 24, 2018. BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

When former Republican Representative Nancy Hayworth treated early October on Twitter Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez of "Fanciful socialists Zucman, 32, answered with humor: "You have forgotten French. Fanciful French Socialists ». The two French economists based in Berkeley (California) have been in the headlines since they revealed that the top 400 American fortunes paid, with Donald Trump's reform, an income tax proportionally lower than the average Americans. Worse, here they are who import their "Fantasies" in the land of capitalism: Democratic nomination candidate Elizabeth Warren has resumed their proposal to tax fortunes in excess of 50 million dollars (44.7 million euros).

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also The good fortune of the French economist Gabriel Zucman

The two men tour the eastern US to promote their book, The Triumph of Injustice (W. W. Norton & Company, 288 pages). Ten days ago, they were chatting in Manhattan with Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. A week ago, they had presented to congressmen, Democrats and Republicans, their new tax reform simulation tool (taxjusticenow, tax justice is now).

Intrusion of the Piketty's boys in the United States, six years after the American triumph of Capital in the 21st century ? Arrive in numbers, because Saez and Zucman, co-authors of Thomas Piketty, are not alone. "There is a disproportionate presence of French at the forefront, both in academic research and in the American economic policy debate," confirms Jason Furman, 49, former president of Barack Obama's economic advisers and Harvard professor, who keeps on crossing them.

In New York University, Thomas Philippon, a 45-year-old polytechnician, denounces cartelization of the economy. At the Peterson Institute in Washington, 70-year-old veteran Olivier Blanchard, former chief economist of the IMF, took advantage in January of serving as president of the American Economists Association to advocate for more fiscal flexibility in the rate period. low. Finally, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economist, Esther Duflo, 47, was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics in October for her revolutionary approach to development: help is like medicine, to know if it is effective, it should be tested, regardless of the ideology.


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