Olivier Pilmis

Chargé de recherche CNRS
Economic sociology, Macroeconomic forecasting

Research Programs

  • Governance, economic organizations program
  • Knowledge, science, expertise program
  • Public policy, transformations of the state program
  • Work, employment, professions program


Olivier Pilmis’ current work proposes an economic sociology that draws on the sociologies of risk, of labour and professions, and of science and technology. It focuses on how individuals and organisations deal with uncertainty, by inquiring into the ways they anticipate general movements in the economy. Every economic crisis, from the Great Depression in the 1930s to the crisis brought on by the lockdown in 2020, by way of the Great Recession of 2008, underscores the impossibility of unravelling the mysteries of the economy’s future. Each of these crises also reminds us of the importance of forecasting to both public and private economic action.

In this context, forecasting presents itself as a double discourse on the economy and on the future, in order to reduce risk and uncertainty—or better still, to transform uncertainty into risk. In taking forecasting as an object of sociological study, Olivier Pilmis’ organises his research around the questions: What is a discourse on the future? How is it produced? How does it manage to constitute itself as a legitimate forecast? What are the social conditions for such a discourse’s effectiveness? To answer these questions, he employs both qualitative methods (interviews, archives, observations) and quantitative ones.

He notably led the “Infogouv” project (Informing to govern: Institutional dynamics of the world of macroeconomic governance), funded by the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies (LIEPP), from 2017-2019.


  • Olivier Pilmis. L'intermittence au travail. Une sociologie des marchés de la pige et de l'art dramatique. Economica, pp.208, 2013, Etudes sociologiques.⟨hal-01152638⟩
  • Henri Bergeron, Patrick Castel, Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier, Jeanne Lazarus, Etienne Nouguez, et al.. Le biais comportementaliste. Presses de Sciences Po, pp.128, 2018. ⟨hal-01914970⟩
  • Olivier Pilmis. Produire en urgence : La gestion de l’imprévisible dans le monde du journalisme. Revue française de sociologie, Presse de Sciences Po / Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 2014, 55 (1), pp.101 - 126. ⟨hal-01176823⟩
  • Olivier Pilmis. Un futur antérieur : Le rapport aux données dans le travail de prévision macroéconomique. Revue Française de Socio-Economie, Paris : La Découverte, 2018, pp.59 - 76. ⟨hal-01960086⟩
  • Olivier Pilmis. Escaping the Reality Test: How Macroeconomic Forecasters Deal With 'Errors'. Uncertain Futures, Oxford University Press, pp.124 - 143, 2018, 9780198820802. ⟨hal-01865296⟩
  • Sylvain Brunier, Olivier Pilmis. La règle et le rapporteur : Une sociologie de l’inspection. Sylvain Brunier; Olivier Pilmis. Presses des Mines, pp.206, 2020, Sciences Sociales. ⟨hal-02529589⟩

All publications


Ecole Polytechnique (2018 – 2020)

  • Economic Sociology (graduate programme)

Sciences Po

  • Classics of Sociology (Master’s programme in Sociology, 2014 - 2019)
  • Written sources (Master’s programme in Sociology, 2016 - 2019)
  • Producing research (Master’s programme in Sociology, 2017 - 2019)


  • Economic sociology (Lecturer, Master’s programme, 2011 - 2013)


  • Member of the French Sociology Association’s Economic Sociology network committee (2019 - present)
  • Co-leader of the CSO’s doctoral seminar (2015 - 2019)
  • Member of the French Sociology Association’s Methods network committee (2006 - 2012)
  • Member of the jury for the written test in Sociology component of the entrance exam to École Normale Supérieure - Cachan (2009 - 2013)

Awards and Honours


Young author prize (1st prize), Sociologie du travail


PhD in Sociology, EHESS (advisor: Pierre-Michel Menger)
Dissertation title: L'Organisation de marchés incertains. Une sociologie des mondes de la pige et de l'art dramatique” [The organisation of uncertain markets: A sociology of the worlds of freelancing and of the dramatic arts]

Agrégation in Economic and Social Sciences

DEA (M.Phil) in Sociology, EHESS

Degree, Political Studies Institute (IEP) - Paris

Last Publications

All publications from Olivier Pilmis

Press Release

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