- Philippe Martin (credit photo Jean Claude Guilloux/ Sciences Po)
The Economics Department at Sciences Po owes its existence largely to Philippe.
He was the first chair from 2008 to 2013, and his communicative energy convinced people to join him in what might have seemed like a risky adventure at first. He laid the groundwork by setting up a master’s and doctoral programme, recruiting many young international researchers, and establishing the rules that guarantee the efficient functioning of an academic unit. Mixing the best international practices with a certain creativity in the design of the department, he ensured that our reputation would grow very quickly. All this was done while maintaining the original spirit of building a powerful but friendly group.
Although he went on to other adventures, in the cabinet of the Ministry of Finance, then at the Conseil d'Analyse Économique, as Vice-president of Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), and most recently as Dean of the École d'Affaires Publiques at Sciences Po and on the Board of the Fondation nationale des sciences politiques (FNSP), he remained very attached to the Department and always had an influential and insightful voice. While brilliantly assuming high-level responsibilities, Philippe continued to conduct high-level academic research. He argued that economic research is less interesting without economic policy application, but conversely that the practice of economic policy in isolation from research runs the risk of gradual irrelevance. Many students will also remember him as a brilliant teacher. Throughout those years, Philippe never stopped teaching, including to very large audiences at Sciences Po, with a rare talent for making students understand how useful economics can be to decipher and act on complex real-world problems. He knew he could move on to other projects with confidence that the foundations he had laid would allow the department to continue to flourish.
We will miss Philippe terribly, as a colleague and as a friend. Philippe had immense personal qualities. He could formulate frank critical statements, but never in a mean way, always morally impeccable. He left us much too soon. We will try to nurture the gift he has given us in the years to come.
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