French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin presided over the inauguration last week of the Paris School of Economics, a new institution that its founders hope will eventually rival economics powerhouses like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Here is much more, and note that the institution will be unencumbered by many French civil service restrictions. This is a noble idea, and it has some serious people behind it. It is often underestimated how much the quality of American higher education drives superior American economic performance, so of course Europe should make moves in this direction. But can this graduate school succeed? Until the European job market offers comparable opportunities to the United States (also known as systematic higher education reform), why pursue this Ph.d., only to be yanked away from the glorious land of non-pasteurized cheeses and sent to toil in Berkeley, Austin, or Princeton?
Did I mention this is an object lesson in why economic growth is so hard to manage and stimulate? Thanks to Jacob Levy and Scott Cunningham for pointers.