6 Mar 2012

My talk at the Toulouse School of Economics

As a non-economist trying hard to propose some radical economic ideas, I am convinced that it is important to try and get some real economists on my side. I work in Toulouse, a city in south-west France that has one of the most prestigious Centres for Economics Research in the world - the Toulouse School of Economics. The school has recently got two prestigious  Labex labels (Laboratoires d'excellence) including a new structure called the Institute for Advanced Studies in Toulouse (IAST), and no less than 4 European Research Council grants to individual researchers, of which two senior researcher grants were obtained this year. Pretty amazing.

So, given all that talent, I decided to invite myself to give a talk (!).  I was given the opportunity to present my ideas at an informal lunch yesterday - my thanks to Karine Van Der Straeten, deputy director of the GREMAQ for setting it up.

Unforunately, there was another Finance seminar on in parallel, which may explain why there were only 4 people there to listen to me. My thanks to all four of them for giving me some of their time.

Anyway, it was a good excuse for me to put my ideas into a talk form - something that I had not done previously. If you are interested, you can download a pdf file of my talk here. As soon as I can find the time, I'll try and add my voice to it so that you can hear the whole thing - it lasts about 45 minutes. (I'll even try and do a French version).

Did the four assembled economists manage to demolish my wacky proposals? I certainly don't think so. None of the points they raised seemed to me to be at all problematic. But maybe I'm biased.

Were they convinced? Frankly, they didn't appear to be very enthusiastic. But maybe this sort of radical out of the box way of thinking is difficult to take in at first. I've sent all four of them a copy of my talk in the hope that they will come back with some more detailed comments.

My experience at the TSE fits with the general pattern that I have encountered when talking to professional ecnomists. I've spoken with several,including Nobel-prize winner Daniel Kahneman, John Van Reenan from the London School of Economics, Louis Levy-Garboua from La Sorbonne, and Francis Kramerz from the Ecole Polytechnique. In general the response has been a polite - "it probably won't work". But no solid arguments why.

Maybe I will be able to get a real debate going sometime soon. I certainly hope so.

1 comment:

  1. Despair not Simon. I get the same laconic 'It won't work' to my national debt eradication thesis. I remember many moons ago there was a Claimant's Union that had as its banner the royal coat of arms and in lieu of the traditional 'Honi soit ...' it said: 'If you don't hit it, it won't fall'.