Gilles Saint-Paul

Gilles Saint-Paul obtained his Ph.D. from MIT in 1990. Since then he has worked on issues related to unemployment, long-term economic growth, political economy and European labor market institutions. He has published extensively on these issues, in particular Dual Labor Markets: A macroeconomic perspective (MIT Press, 1996) and The Political Economy of Labour Market Institutions (Oxford University Press, 2000). His recent work has dealt with the implications of new technologies and intellectual property rights for growth, and the dynamics of income distribution. He has been Professor of Economics at DELTA in Paris from 1990 to 1997, and at University at Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona from 1997 to 2000. Since then he is a Professor at Toulouse University. He has served as a consultant for the IMF, the Spanish government, and the Swedish government. He was a member of the Commission Économique de la Nation, an advisory council to the French minister of finance, and is Programme Director of the Centre ofor Economic Policy Research in London in the area of Labour Economics.

Papers Published in World Economics:

Alternative Strategies for Fighting Unemployment

During more than three decades of protracted high unemployment, European countries have developed a variety of approaches in order to tackle the problem. These strategies differ in their philosophy, scopes and successes. A number of them can be understood in terms of shying away from full-fledged liberalization in order to preserve the "European Social Model". In this paper the author discusses their relative merits. He focuses on strategies that may reasonably be expected to reduce unemployment, and ignores sheer blunders based on a false view of how the economics works (such as working time reduction), as well as measures that may improve the welfare of the unemployed but are nevertheless harmful to the labour market (such as generous unemployment benefits). The general message is that some of the strategies that “preserve the European Social Model” have merits, but are unlikely to lead to an efficient labour market where finding a job or hiring a worker are no longer considered as a painful challenge.

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To What Extent Should Less-Developed Countries Enforce Intellectual Property Rights?

This paper discusses a number of issues in the context of the debate on intellectual property in less developed countries (LDCs). It starts by discussing the consequences of IP enforcement in LDCs for global innovation and welfare in poorer countries. It then considers the costs and benefits of IP enforcement for a small, open LDC, abstracting from global issues. Finally, it discusses the potential merits of an industrial policy based on open-source software. The analysis suggests that the view that it is best for LDCs to free ride on the global IP regime is overblown.

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Understanding Labour Market Institutions

Labour market rigidities are often considered to be responsible for high unemployment in Europe. This paper outlines a theory explaining why they may be supported by the political system, and where their support comes from. Labour market rigidities are likely to arise as the outcome of microeconomic imperfections which allow incumbent employees to reap rents, and as a device to alleviate redistributive conflicts among groups of workers. Their support depends on the employed’s exposure to unemployment, the degree of underlying inequality in skills, and the responsiveness of employment to labour costs. It is shown that different labour market institutions, such as employment protection, wage rigidities, and unemployment benefits, may mutually reinforce each other, so that we expect to observe them together. Also discussed are implications for the timing and design of reform.

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