Gaps in maths, social skills: Famous French productivity at risk – 09/30/2022 at 10:48

Gaps in maths, social skills: Famous French productivity at risk - 09/30/2022 at 10:48

The Council for Economic Analysis warns that the loss of what had until then been a French asset represents a “significant economic problem” for years to come.

According to the Council for Economic Analysis (AFP/BERTRAND GUAY), stalling productivity costs 140 billion euros a year.

Growth in output per hour, or productivity, is falling faster in France than in Germany and the United States: the trade-off costs 140 billion euros a year, according to a study published Thursday by the Council for Economic Analysis (CAE).

The main reason for this is insufficient mathematical and socio-behavioral skills, i.e. the ability to work in a team, organize and adapt.

The pause is “a big economic problem” that is not talked about much, while “skills are a central lever towards sectors that contribute to skills and productivity” to make up for the delay, he explained during a presentation. Economist Xavier Jaravel is a co-author of the note.

Compared to Germany, the productivity gap has resulted in a four-point gap in GDP over 15 years, while the US, which started from a lower level than France, has gained six points compared to France over the same period. From the CAE, a body linked to Matignon responsible for communicating its economic policy to the government.

In the 2000s, Germany gave itself the means to make up for its own lag following the “PISA shock” that knocked the first European economic power down in international rankings of school performance.

A similar initiative in France would lead to “an increase of about 0.2 points in annual per capita growth,” making it possible to gain three points in GDP or 75 billion euros a year after 15 years, the authors calculated. Note.

Fostering innovation

Focusing on math and socio-behavioral knowledge, known as soft skills in English, is necessary because there are a large number of jobs that call for these skills, while the proportion of those who do not demand them does not decrease.

According to the researchers, who cite several works on the subject, “we see a continuous decline in the average level of French youth in mathematics for 30 years, both among the best students and among the worst”.

To address this, they recommend setting “ambitious targets” in maths, German and Portuguese, which show that “significant progress can be achieved over a five-year period”.

They also recommend establishing a “system for regular assessment of socio-behavioral skills”, which does not exist today. “In France, school training and general culture do not allow the development of these skills”, according to Maria Guadalupe, co-author of the note.

A second lever to compensate for French lateness is to provide better access to innovative professions, which today are the prerogative of men from privileged backgrounds from a limited number of territories.

Opening up more of these industries to women, young people from less privileged backgrounds and young people from many regions would “boost economic growth by around 0.2 percentage points”, meaning GDP would rise to 75 billion after 15 years.

To achieve this, the researchers propose the creation of a “National Strategy for Innovation for All” with a budget of 100 million euros to raise awareness among young people about innovation and careers in science.

Finally, the reference research wants to redirect the tax credit (CIR), which today “disproportionately benefits large companies” while “most innovative” are SMEs. Economists argue that in a fixed budget, the subsidy rate will increase from 30% to 42% and the device will be 20 million.

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