Friday, September 21, 2007

Jean Tirole


Two nice portraits of the outstanding French economist Jean Tirole in Le Monde and Le Figaro. His "Financial Crises, Liquidity, and the International Monetary System," published in 2002, could hardly be more topical. He was just awarded the CNRS Gold Medal and is only the second economist to receive that award (after Maurice Allais).

Tirole teaches at my alma mater, MIT. In fact, a remarkably high proportion of the best French economists are right here in Cambridge, Mass.

A propos, there's an interesting comparison at Bruegel (thanks to Éloi Laurent for the pointer). If you look into this document, you'll find on p. 3 a comparison of the educational performance of various countries and states in the U.S. using an index calculated by the authors from the Shanghai university rankings. In this comparison, Germany, with a population of 83 million, scores 0 (looking at the "Top 50" column in the table); France, with a population of 60 million, scores 3 ; the UK, with a population of 60 million, scores 72; and the state of Massachusetts, with a population of 6 million, scores 449 (the US as a whole, with population 294 million, is taken as the basis of comparison, with index 100).

Yes, I know, a slightly absurd ranking, and if you broke it down by zip code, I have to wonder how 02139 (MIT) would do against 02138 (Harvard). But the Cambridge chauvinist in me can't resist the opportunity to relay these findings.

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