Interview with Paul Champsaur
Paul Champsaur (born in 1944) is a high- ranking French civil servant. He first graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique in 1963 and then from ENSAE. From 1992 to 2003, he was the director of the Insee (National Institute for Statistics and Eco- nomic Studies) and he was in charge of the Arcep (the French Telecommunications and Posts Regulator) from 2003 to 2008. Since March 2009 he has been the director of the L'Autorité de la statistique publique (the supervising body of public statistics in France). In 2009, he was nominated by the French Prime Minister to be the head of an expert group on the SMIC (French mini- mum wage).
How long have you known about the magistère économiste-statisticien programme?
In fact, I had known Jean-Jacques Laffont (one of the two creators of the magistère) for many years.
As a teaching assistant at ENSAE I taught Jean- Jacques Laffont and Guy Laroque and I have to say that they were brilliant students. One day, Jean-Jacques Laffont told me about his project of creating a degree combining economics and statistical matters.
You have worked for many public institutions such as Insee and the Arcep, do you have some advice to give to students who want to work in these kind of organizations?
First, you have to know that public institutions make their recruitment by competitive entry tests. For instance, at the Insee, there are two ways to enter: the “administrator examination” and the “attaché examination”. Besides, you have the opportunity when you are already working at Insee to take the internal competition. During my term as director of the Insee, I met some students who came from the University of Toulouse. However, I don't remember if they had graduated from the magistère programme but they must have studied both economics and mathematics. Indeed, if you only study economics it will be difficult to work for such institutions. Finally, you have to be aware that there are only a few vacancies every year.
Do you know the other guest speakers? Have you ever worked on economic or statistical studies together?
I have known Roger Guesnerie for a long time when he was at the research center CEPREMAP (Centre Pour la Recherche EconoMique et ses Applications).
I know Eric Maskin very well. I had the opportunity to have a dinner with him and Collette Laffont yesterday.
Do you have something to say about André Grimaud, the for-mer director of the magistère, who is retiring this year?
As a matter of fact, I left the instruction profession about 30 years ago. Thus, I am not aware of the current educational matters. Nevertheless, I have already talked to him and I know that he took a great place in the life of the magistère.
Interview with Roger Guesnerie
Roger Guesnerie is a French economist whose papers are published in well-known economic journals (Econometrica, Review of Economic Studies,...). His research fields mainly concern general equilibrium models, public economy, incentive economics and climate change. He has taught in many prestigious universities such as the LSE (London School of Economics), Harvard University and University of Pennsyl- vania.
He received many prizes such as the CNRS (Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique) silver medal and he has been declared to be a “Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite” (Knight of the National Order of Merit) and “Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur” (Knight of the Legion of Honour). He co-created the DELTA research unit in theoretical and applied economics with François Bourguignon, former chief econo-mist at the World Bank and director of the PSE (Paris School of Economics).
Nowadays, he is member of Collège de France, a higher education and research establishment in Paris.
Can you tell us a bit about your career?
I graduated from Ponts-et-Chaussées, Polytechnique and from Sciences Po. I entered the research center CERMAP which is the forerunner of the CEPREMAP in which I started to do research in economics. I then worked at the CNRS from 1974 to 2000. In 1978, I was nominated director of studies at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, EHESS. Afterwards I also worked for the Collège de France. Thus, my career is mainly dedicated to research but I keep a strong in- terest for economic policy issues such as unemployment and the minimal wage on which I wrote an article.
How long have you known about the magistère économiste- statisticien programme?
In fact, I am not very involved in the university field but I knew for a long time one of the two creators Jean-Jacques Laffont.
Do you know the other guest speakers ? Have you ever worked on economic or statistical studies together?
I know Paul Champsaur since he was at Ensae and I know Eric Maskin well. However I have not worked with them on economic or statistical studies. I wrote a kind of a thesis in the 1980s under the direction of Jean-Jacques Laffont with whom I have written some articles.
Do you have something to say about André Grimaud, the for- mer director of the magistère over the last 20 years who is retiring this year ?
André Grimaud is a person that I respect a lot because in some way I know the importance of his work as the creator of a doctoral program. (Roger Guesnerie created together with Francois Bourguignon the research institution Delta, which developed into to the Paris School of Economics).