2 February 2024

Vincent Pons and Julia Cagé, in the newspaper

The Prize for the best young economist, awarded The world and the Circle of Economists, does not only aim for the recognition of purely academic excellence as evidenced by the international publications of the candidates. Its originality is to highlight their capacity, not only to listen to the economic and social reality of the present, but also to be in search of solutions to bring to the most urgent problems. And, also, to contribute to the public debate in terms of economic policy or decision-making within companies, thus joining the objectives of the Circle of economists.

This year, for the awarding of the Prize and the three nominations, the jury received 46 applications. Nine candidates presented their file for the first time. Thirteen are posted abroad and thirty-three hold professorships or research positions in France. There were only fourteen women, or about 30% of the candidates, but two candidates appear in the list. The two joint winners of the Prize, Julia Cagé and Vincent Pons, defended their thesis abroad (Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The first, who is also president of the Society of Readers of the World, is based in Paris (Economics Department of Sciences Po), and the second in the United States (Harvard). The three selected hold professorships in France, in the economics department of the Ecole Polytechnique and at the Toulouse School of Economics. All of them have already received scientific awards or prestigious research grants (Malinvaud Prize, thesis prize from the French Association for Economic Science, funding from the European Research Council), thus contributing to the influence of French economics.

The Prize is an opportunity to verify whether the candidates’ research agendas cover the strongest questions about the disruption of economies and whether they trace useful leads. With the two laureates ex aequo, the jury crowned this year works that relate to the crisis of democracy. While remaining rooted in economic analysis, its concepts, its methods, they also come under political science and respond to a growing concern about the relationship between the economy and power. This concerns the impact of the concentration of the media and the Internet on the quality of information and the spread of this information on social networks. Added to this is the question of the functioning of democracy, its financing, the determinants of electoral participation, but also questions about the adequacy between the expectations of voters, the policies announced, those implemented and their effects.

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