Magistère, 25th Anniversary of the Magistère Économiste-Statisticien BY BENJAMIN BLAYE AND SIMON CORDE THE
Jean Philippe Lesne (director of Toulouse School of Econom- ics) talks about the Magistère and its 25th anniversary:
As the director of the School, I am glad to participate in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Magistère Economics and Statistics. This program relies on the high level curriculum provided by the school and broadens its scope by adding courses given by researchers from University Paul Sa- batier, mainly in math, statistics, data mining and computer science. By selecting highly motivated students, the mag- istère programme was since its beginning, a pioneering idea, launched by Jean-Jacques Laffont (UT1) and Henri Caussinus (UPS), and managed for more than 20 years by André Grimaud, with his well-known enthusiasm and open-mindedness. All this echoes today in the foundation of the School and in the growing cooperation between universities in Toulouse.
Paul Champsaur was introduced by a short speech from Jean- Philippe Lesne. Champsaur is the current director of Statistical National Authority, and the former general director (1992 to 2003) of the INSEE (National Institute of Statistical and Eco- nomic studies). He graduated from Polytechnique and ENSAE in the late 1960's.
Champsaur's talk focused mainly on the job market and wages inequalities, discussing his experience as a former president of the INSEE and his views on the possible reasons of inequality.
After a brief introductory summary of the economic context of the last thirty years, Mr. Champsaur discussed the arrival of a breakthrough in modern big data: microeconometrics. Thanks to developments in this field, particularly in terms of data obtained by INSEE, new phenomena have received quan- titative analysis and explanation. For example, Mr. Champsaur explained that a great part of unemployment of less qualified people is due to the high level of minimum wage in France. As empirical proof for this statement, he provided a precise figure: unqualified work has an elasticity of -1.5%. This follows from another simple figure: at its creation, the minimal wage represented half of the median wage. Today, it is two-thirds of it.
Roger Guesnerie was introduced by André Grimaud. He is a French economist who has published in well-known journals such as Econometrics and the Review of Economic Studies.
Guesnerie talked about a very “hot” topic: climate policy. There are tensions between ecology and economics. In many cases, the ecological long-run view lacks compatibility with the short-run economic vision when it comes to public decisions. Therefore, we might end up just evaluating the price of the damages we cause. But then the economic computation leads to a terrible conclusion: the price for ecology is overwhelming. Are we advocates for a generational selfishness? While environmental goods are not private goods, they also are not necessarily destroyed by prudent use. The economic reasoning may still have a place in this debate.
In the evening, the gala of the magistère took place in the Natural History Museum. This was the occasion for current students of the magistère programme, former graduates, guest speakers, and TSE's professors to meet and engage in conversation.
Henri Caussinus (professor in Statistics) was one of the first to make a speech. He made a great praise to Jean-Jacques Laffont who created the programme in 1985. Then, Grimaud spoke, reflecting on his position as a director of the magistère programme for over 20 years. The gala was an opportunity to thank him for his enthusiasm, his passion and commitment for the programme. At the end of his speech, students and professors presented him with a signed book thanking him for his dedication to the programme.
On Tuesday morning, the event began with a round table conference on professionalization. The celebration took place on March 18th and 19th.
The first day’s celebration mainly took place on the Paul Sa- batier Toulouse III campus and was aimed on focusing more on statistical matters. It started with a round table discussion about research in statistics.
The main idea of this talk was to promote research work in an extensive way. The contributors were: Mr. Caussinus (co- founder of the Magistère, distinguished professor in statistics at UT3), Mrs. Ruiz-Gazen (professor and researcher in statistics at UT1 Capitole), Mr. Desjean (research engineer at Toulouse Mathematics Institute), Mr. Besse (professor and researcher in statistics at INSA) and Mr. Florent (specialist in statistics and econometrics). The talk provided many insights and real world examples in which statistical research has played a large role. Eventually, fundamental research is always applied research from a certain point of view and vice-versa. This contributes to a wider sense of multidisciplinarity- even more in statistics- a field of study largely needed in many disciplines. The discus- sion made clear that there is a bright future for statistics.
In the afternoon, the organizers of the anniversary celebration of the magistère programme had the honour to greet Paul Champsaur and then Roger Guesnerie. Unlike the previous talk, each contributor spoke about one subject, mostly describing their professional experience. Our first contributor was Mr. Hibon, CEO of Cahors, a multinational company dealing with gas, water and telecommunications. His main point was the importance of promoting foreign lan- guages. In his opinion, foreign language ability is often the distinction between two candidates. TSE and the Magistère programme are both strong qualifications, but adaptability in foreign countries is a crucial skill in today’s marketplace. Then Mrs. Le Gall, a Magistère alumnus (1999) spoke about her ex- periences in quite different sectors: first, telecommunications and then in biostatistics. She was followed by Mr. Bergeret, an- other Magistère alumnus (1991), who formerly worked with Mrs. Le Gall before the creation of his company, Ippon Inno- vation, which currently provides employment for dozens of people. They gave many practical and insightful examples of how Magistère alumni can be successful.
In the afternoon, the Magistère organization committee had the pleasure to welcome Eric Maskin (Professor at Harvard, 2007 Nobel Prize Winner- you can find an interview with him in the 3rd edition of The TSEconomist). In the beautifully renovated amphi Cujas, Maskin was introduced by Jean Tirole and spoke on the topic of “Why haven’t global markets reduced ing speech to this gala, Mr. Caussinus spoke in memory of Jean-Jacques Laffont, his partner in founding the magistère programme and he presented a tribute to the era of econom ics in Toulouse. A great part of what we can see today here at TSE and within the magistère programme is largely due to a man's devotion to this great city that we live in. Laffont almost started from scratch when he arrived in Toulouse in the early 1980's and met Mr. Caussinus to suggest him the idea of the formation of the magistère programme in 1985. From there, the goal of achieving high-level economics research was pur- sued with well-known researchers such as Mr. Saint-Paul, Mr. Landier and Mr. Tirole paving the path.
The organizational team felt quite honored that many alumni from several countries came to attend our reception, espe- cially numerous researchers from Zurich. One of those, Ju- lien Daubanes introduced the main event of the evening: the great thank you speech for Mr. Grimaud. After having spent over 20 years in service of the magistère programme, Mr. Gri- maud will leave the school for a well-deserved retirement this year. It is the duty of anyone involved with the programme to thank him before his departure with a Livre d'or. Many col- leagues, alumni and students wrote in it which deeply moved him. Afterwards, it was Mr. Grimaud's turn to speak. When Mr. Laffont idea’s of the magistère programme became real inequalities? For more information to the article in this issue of the Economist.
he topic of the talk was chosen in memory of Jean-Jacques Laffont, a good friend of Mr. Maskin, who did a lot of research in development economics. Mr. Maskin showed that global markets, instead of having a positive effect on poor countries as could be predicted, had some secondary effects on the most destitute population of the poor countries. Indeed, the opening of borders permits the qualified workers of poor countries to work more efficiently with the lesser qualified from the rich countries. Therefore,
the unqualified populations of poor countries are left to themselves and reach rock bottom. There are solutions to this problem, one of which would be to allow low-skill workers to share benefits by investing in their training. But stopping globalization is definitely not one of them.
At the end of the first day, contributors, alumni, professors and students gathered in the museum for a gala. This was the opportunity to meet more casually, and to exchange with many people all linked in some way through the Magistère programme. After a brief welcoming speech, the guests were given the chance to a private visit of the museam led by the museum director. Meanwhile, alumni and students could wander across the elephant room and listen to the speech of our president, Mr. Bitola. He assured us, as we could see with our own eyes, that the entire event was a success. In the openity 25 years ago, he managed to gather the best teachers he could find in order to deliver the best degree he could. Mr. Gri- maud was one of them. Unlike many researchers, Mr. Grimaud has the ability to fascinate his audience in a classroom. Many alumni mainly came to see him before he leaves, assuring him that he was the best teacher they ever had. He has a passion for teaching and you could almost say that he lives for his students. This passion for teaching also made him win his most recent award, the TSEconomist teaching award. On behalf of Groupe Magistère organized the event numerous students and alumni, the magistère programme wanted to add one last thank you.
Mr. Grimaud was busy all night long receiving congratulations and taking pictures: he was definitely the man of the mag- istère celebration.
That night became a memorable one for all participants. It showed the benefit added by the magistère programme and the strong links it forms between graduates and new stu- dents. Therefore it is not surprising to notice that the majority.