15 May 2017

Contra Krugman Episode 86: Let’s Talk France

Contra Krugman 2 Comments

Yet another good episode. An outline:

9:10 I point out that Adolph Hitler is considered a right-winger, even though Nazi stands for “National Socialist.”

10:50 I exhibit my command of the French tongue.

11:25 I point out how slippery Krugman is with his French economic data. (I also give tutorial to Tom on how to run the show if something happens to me.)

16:10 I give the theory to explain the empirical results. Why is it that “generous” French regulations on work benefits lead to such high unemployment among younger workers?

18:38 I dig up a textbook backing up my views. You WON’T BELIEVE who the author is.

25:00 We take on the issue of the French working less.

30:00 We talk about austerity. I mention David R. Henderson’s work on Canada.

36:15 I praise Krugman’s discussion of Brexit (really).

2 Responses to “Contra Krugman Episode 86: Let’s Talk France”

  1. Steve Maughan says:

    Another point regarding the French data is this…

    Due to the high taxes and cost of living in France (and Europe in general), more families need both parents to work in order to have a decent standard of living. I don’t have any data on this, but I suspect more families in the US can afford to have the mother stay at home with the young kids. This would bring down the 25-55 employment statistic but is a sign of a good standard of living i.e. the opposite of what Krugman is implying


  2. Tel says:


    To begin, while France gets an amazing amount of bad press — much of it coming from ideologues who insist that generous welfare states must have disastrous effects — it’s actually a fairly successful economy. Believe it or not, French adults in their prime working years (25 to 54) are substantially more likely than their U.S. counterparts to be gainfully employed.

    Macron himself admits there’s significant problems with the French economy, here’s an interview from September 2015 where they discuss the unemployment problem.


    Macron talks about reforming the economy, modernizing the economy, growth, innovation, private investment, the unfairness of dumping a debt burden on the young generation, and although he defended François Hollande’s government (which Macron eventually bailed out of), Macron also admits (perhaps obliquely) than many of Hollande’s high tax policies were wrong.

    At the same time, he describes himself as “socialist”, possibly for political reasons (typical Teflon chameleon tactics). He talks about equality of opportunity and also about safety nets. Macron sounds a bit similar to Paul Keating (who Americans probably never heard of, but there’s a musical to help explain if that helps).

Leave a Reply