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Economics for the Common Good
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From Nobel Prize-winning economist Jean Tirole, a bold new agenda for the role of economics in society When Jean Tirole won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics, he suddenly found himself being stopped in the street by complete strangers and asked to comment on issues of the day, no matter how distant from his own areas of research. His transformation from academic economist to public intellectual prompted him to reflect further on the role economists and their discipline play in society. The result is Economics for the Common Good, a passionate manifesto for a world in which economics, far from being a "dismal science," is a positive force for the common good. Economists are rewarded for writing technical papers in scholarly journals, not joining in public debates. But Tirole says we urgently need economists to engage with the many challenges facing society, helping to identify our key objectives and the tools needed to meet them. To show how economics can help us realize the common good, Tirole shares his insights on a broad array of questions affecting our everyday lives and the future of our society, including global warming, unemployment, the post-2008 global financial order, the Euro crisis, the digital revolution, innovation, and the proper balance between the free market and regulation. Providing a rich account of how economics can benefit everyone, Economics for the Common Good sets a new agenda for the role of economics in society.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi Introduction Whatever Happened to the Common Good? 1 Itinerary 5 The Relationship between Society and Economics 7 The Economist's Profession 8 Institutions 10 A Window on Our World 11 The Common Thread 12 I Economics And Society 1 Do You Like Economics? 17 What Prevents Our Understanding Economics 17 The Market and Other Ways of Managing Scarcity 24 How to Make Economics Better Understood 29 2 The Moral Limits of the Market 33 The Moral Limits of the Market or Market Failure? 36 The Noncommercial and the Sacred 40 The Market, a Threat to Social Cohesion? 47 Inequality 50 II The Economist's Profession 3 The Economist in Civil Society 65 The Economist as Public Intellectual 66 The Pitfalls of Involvement in Society 70 A Few Safeguards for an Essential Relationship 76 From Theory to Economic Policy 78 4 The Everyday Life of a Researcher 80 The Interplay between Theory and Empirical Evidence 80 The Microcosm of Academic Economics 91 Economists: Foxes or Hedgehogs? 101 The Role of Mathematics 104 Game Theory and Information Theory 109 An Economist at Work: Methodological Contributions 118 5 Economics on the Move 122 An Agent Who Is Not Always Rational: Homo psychologicus 123 Homo socialis 137 Homo incitatus: The Counterproductive Effects of Rewards 141 Homo juridicus: Law and Social Norms 147 More Unexpected Lines of Inquiry 149 III An Institutional Framework For The Economy 6 Toward a Modern State 155 The Market Has Many Defects That Must Be Corrected 157 The Complementarity between the Market and the State and the Foundations of Liberalism 160 Politicians or Technocrats? 163 Reforming the State: The Example of France 169 7 The Governance and Social Responsibility of Business 174 Many Possible Organizations ... but Few Are Chosen 175 And What Is Business's Social Responsibility? 185 IV The Great Macroeconomic Challenges 8 The Climate Challenge 195 What Is at Stake in Climate Change? 195 Reasons for the Standstill 199 Negotiations That Fall Short of the Stakes Involved 206 Making Everyone Accountable for GHG Emissions 213 Inequality and the Pricing of Carbon 222 The Credibility of an International Agreement 226 In Conclusion: Putting Negotiations Back on Track 228 9 Labor Market Challenges 231 The Labor Market in France 233 An Economic Analysis of Labor Contracts 242 Perverse Institutional Incentives 245 What Can Reform Achieve and How Can It Be Implemented Successfully? 251 The Other Great Debates about Employment 255 The Urgency 261 10 Europe at the Crossroads 265 The European Project: From Hope to Doubt 265 The Origins of the Euro Crisis 267 Greece: Much Bitterness on Both Sides 282 What Options Do the EU and the Eurozone Have Today? 289 11 What Use Is Finance? 296 What Use Is Finance? 296 How to Transform Useful Products into Toxic Products 298 Are Markets Efficient? 306 Why Regulate in Fact? 321 12 The Financial Crisis of 2008 326 The Financial Crisis 327 The New Postcrisis Environment 335 Who Is to Blame? Economists and the Prevention of Crises 350 V The Industrial Challenge 13 Competition Policy and Industrial Policy 355 What Is the Purpose of Competition? 357 Where Does Industrial Policy Fit In? 365 14 How Digitization Is Changing Everything 378 Platforms: Guardians of the Digital Economy 379 Two-Sided Markets 382 A Different Business Model: Platforms as Regulators 389 The Challenges Two-Sided Markets Pose for Competition Policy 392 15 Digital Economies: The Challenges for Society 401 Trust 402 Who Owns Data? 405 Health Care and Risk 408 The New Forms of Employment in the Twenty-First Century 414 The Digital Economy and Employment 423 The Tax System 427 16 Innovation and Intellectual Property 430 The Imperative of Innovation 430 Intellectual Property 431 Managing Royalty Stacking 435 The Institutions of Innovation 443 Cooperative Development and Open Source Software 447 And Many Other Debates ... 453 17 Sector Regulation 455 What's at Stake 455 A Fourfold Reform and Its Rationale 456 Incentive Regulation 460 Prices of Regulated Companies 466 Regulation of Access to the Network 471 Competition and Universal Service 478 Epilogue 481 Notes 485 Index 551

About the Author

Jean Tirole, the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics, has been described as one of the most influential economists of our time. He is chairman of the Toulouse School of Economics and of the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse and a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His many books include The Theory of Corporate Finance and Financial Crises, Liquidity, and the International Monetary System (both Princeton).

Reviews

French economist Jean Tirole spells out the usefulness of rigorous economic thinking for society in deep, yet accessible, language in his book Economics for the Common Good. The strength of the book is in its breadth. It brings clarity and simplicity to many complex topics covering various fields in economics ranging from climate change, labor market laws, and the global financial crisis to the euro crisis and the gig economy. Many illustrative examples . . . make the book accessible, and each chapter can be read on its own. . . . Many readers will benefit from reading this great book, rich with insights into a broad spectrum of policy questions.---Markus Brunnermeier, Finance & Development 'Economists must . . . with humility and conviction, harness economics for the common good.' That is the last sentence of the new book by Jean Tirole, winner of the 2014 Nobel Memorial Prize for economics. Economics for the Common Good has a great deal of humility, a fair amount of conviction and a sincere commitment to improving the world.---Edward Hadas, Reuters Breaking Views Economics for the Common Good is an ambitious book. As the title suggests, it is a response to the crisis of the economics profession, whose credibility was badly damaged by the financial turmoil of 2008. Though not the first book to address this, more than any earlier attempt it manages to balance a constructive critique of economists with a strong defence of the subject they study.---Martin Sandbu, Financial Times Economics for the Common Good offers an ambitious yet accessible summary of his ideas on the proper role of economists and the value of their ideas in informing government, business and social life. . . . Mr. Tirole has a patient, explanatory style. But when riled, he lashes out.---Philip Delves Boughton, Wall Street Journal Selected for Bloomberg View's "Must-Reads of 2017: Monopolies, Sexism and Economics" One of Bloomberg's Best Books of 2017 One of Financial Times (FT.com) Best Books of 2017: Economics One of Project Syndicate's Best Reads in 2017 (chosen by J. Bradford DeLong) One of the Times Higher Education Books of the Year 2017, chosen by Sir Anton Muscatelli One of the Microsoft Best Business Books of 2017 Jean Tirole, Winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics Longlisted for the 2017 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

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