Monday, February 11, 2008

BofA Economist Evaluates Sarkozy

Fillon's ministers are to be graded by the American consulting firm Mars & Co., in conjunction with Eric Besson. But Sarkozy himself has now been graded by a senior Bank of America economist, Gilles Moec. The grade seems to be about a C+: OK, but could work harder. Moec is especially critical of the recent agreement on labor contract reform, which he believes will maintain the dual structure of the French labor market, divided between insiders and outsiders. For Moec, Sarkozy had a historic opportunity to repair this flaw and may be in process of muffing it.

The "flexibility package" is an improvement, but it falls short of Mr. Sarkozy's campaign promises. As his popularity slips, he risks losing a historic opportunity to reform the French labor market in one bold move. He may end up as just another half-reformer. The labor market dualism is not just an economic problem. Many "peripheral workers" belong to immigrant communities, whose willingness to embrace the French society could be put to test if the doors of core employment remain shut. Bringing more "égalité" to the labor market would be a productive way to fulfill the promise of the French Revolution.

The paean to the Revolution is a nice rhetorical flourish, which I suspect M. Moec did not pick up while studying economics. The article is worth reading in full.

Thanks for the lead to an interesting new blog on French politics in English, Sarkozy the American.

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