[Philippe Aghion]

Since taking up my post at the Collège de France, I have created the Center for the Economy of Innovation to pursue two types of activities:

The research

Taxation and self-entrepreneurs

This project evaluates the effect of successive changes in the French tax system aimed at encouraging micro-enterprise and self-entrepreneurship. With Stefanie Stantcheva (Harvard) and my students, we develop a new method to calculate the reaction elasticity of economic agents in response to the 1999 and 2008 reforms.

Exports and Innovation

This study, conducted with Marc Melitz (Harvard) and my two students Antonin Bergeaud and Matthieu Lequien, analyzes the effects of expanding export markets on the innovation of French exporting companies. In particular, there is evidence that increased demand for exports has two effects: a market size effect that leads to increased innovation; and a competitive effect that may discourage innovation, especially for firms that are far from the technological frontier in their respective sectors.

Measurement of Growth

This study, conducted with Pete Klenow (Stanford), shows that productivity growth (in real terms) in the United States is poorly measured because statistical institutes do not adequately account for the contribution to growth global inflation in the economy of new products which add to or replace old products. It is shown in this study that statistical institutes often use "imputation" or "extrapolation": in other words, for each sector of the economy, the statistical institute relies on observation of prices of products that are not replaced by new products to infer the rate of inflation of the economy as a whole. We show in this study that this use of imputation leads to underestimating real productivity growth in the United States by about one point per year over the last 30 years.

Pedagogy – Innovation Campus of High-schools

We have also set up an Innovation Campus to enable high school students (notably technical high schools and high schools in disadvantaged areas) to access teaching through research and the professors of the College. We started with the economy, with several visits of high school students to the College and a program of visits that Professor Aghion made in the regions.