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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 xiIntroduction Whatever Happened to the Common Good? 1Itinerary 5The Relationship between Society and Economics 7The Economist's Profession 8Institutions 10A Window on Our World 11The Common Thread 12I Economics And Society1 Do You Like Economics? 17What Prevents Our Understanding Economics 17The Market and Other Ways of Managing Scarcity 24How to Make Economics Better Understood 292 The Moral Limits of the Market 33The Moral Limits of the Market or Market Failure? 36The Noncommercial and the Sacred 40The Market, a Threat to Social Cohesion? 47Inequality 50II The Economist's Profession3 The Economist in Civil Society 65The Economist as Public Intellectual 66The Pitfalls of Involvement in Society 70A Few Safeguards for an Essential Relationship 76From Theory to Economic Policy 784 The Everyday Life of a Researcher 80The Interplay between Theory and Empirical Evidence 80The Microcosm of Academic Economics 91Economists: Foxes or Hedgehogs? 101The Role of Mathematics 104Game Theory and Information Theory 109An Economist at Work: Methodological Contributions 1185 Economics on the Move 122An Agent Who Is Not Always Rational: Homo psychologicus 123Homo socialis 137Homo incitatus: The Counterproductive Effects of Rewards 141Homo juridicus: Law and Social Norms 147More Unexpected Lines of Inquiry 149III An Institutional Framework For The Economy6 Toward a Modern State 155The Market Has Many Defects That Must Be Corrected 157The Complementarity between the Market and the State and the Foundations of Liberalism 160Politicians or Technocrats? 163Reforming the State: The Example of France 1697 The Governance and Social Responsibility of Business 174Many Possible Organizations ... but Few Are Chosen 175And What Is Business's Social Responsibility? 185IV The Great Macroeconomic Challenges8 The Climate Challenge 195What Is at Stake in Climate Change? 195Reasons for the Standstill 199Negotiations That Fall Short of the Stakes Involved 206Making Everyone Accountable for GHG Emissions 213Inequality and the Pricing of Carbon 222The Credibility of an International Agreement 226In Conclusion: Putting Negotiations Back on Track 2289 Labor Market Challenges 231The Labor Market in France 233An Economic Analysis of Labor Contracts 242Perverse Institutional Incentives 245What Can Reform Achieve and How Can It Be Implemented Successfully? 251The Other Great Debates about Employment 255The Urgency 26110 Europe at the Crossroads 265The European Project: From Hope to Doubt 265The Origins of the Euro Crisis 267Greece: Much Bitterness on Both Sides 282What Options Do the EU and the Eurozone Have Today? 28911 What Use Is Finance? 296What Use Is Finance? 296How to Transform Useful Products into Toxic Products 298Are Markets Efficient? 306Why Regulate in Fact? 32112 The Financial Crisis of 2008 326The Financial Crisis 327The New Postcrisis Environment 335Who Is to Blame? Economists and the Prevention of Crises 350V The Industrial Challenge13 Competition Policy and Industrial Policy 355What Is the Purpose of Competition? 357Where Does Industrial Policy Fit In? 36514 How Digitization Is Changing Everything 378Platforms: Guardians of the Digital Economy 379Two-Sided Markets 382A Different Business Model: Platforms as Regulators 389The Challenges Two-Sided Markets Pose for Competition Policy 39215 Digital Economies: The Challenges for Society 401Trust 402Who Owns Data? 405Health Care and Risk 408The New Forms of Employment in the Twenty-First Century 414The Digital Economy and Employment 423The Tax System 42716 Innovation and Intellectual Property 430The Imperative of Innovation 430Intellectual Property 431Managing Royalty Stacking 435The Institutions of Innovation 443Cooperative Development and Open Source Software 447And Many Other Debates ... 45317 Sector Regulation 455What's at Stake 455A Fourfold Reform and Its Rationale 456Incentive Regulation 460Prices of Regulated Companies 466Regulation of Access to the Network 471Competition and Universal Service 478Epilogue 481Notes 485Index 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).


"Tirole, a Nobel Prize-winning French economist, explains in straightforward language what academic economists do, how they think about society and human behavior, and what advice they tend to offer governments about some of the biggest challenges they face."--Foreign Affairs "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 Jean Tirole, Winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in EconomicsSelected for Bloomberg View's "Must-Reads of 2017: Monopolies, Sexism and Economics"One of Bloomberg's Best Books of 2017One of Financial Times ( Best Books of 2017: EconomicsOne 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 MuscatelliOne of the Microsoft Best Business Books of 2017Longlisted for the 2017 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award "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 e, Winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in EconomicsLonglisted for the 2017 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award "'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 "As I had the privilege of helping prepare the English edition, I've read it with careful attention, and most appreciated Tirole's ability to crystallise complicated issues in a straightforward way, combining surgical analysis with very clear explanation. This is too rare a skill among economists."--The Enlightened Economist "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 Longlisted for the 2017 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

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