Dans ce billet, il relativise le discours selon lequel les Etats-Unis ont réalisé des gains de productivité bien supérieurs à ceux de la vieille Europe, en s'appuyant sur des données américaines et françaises :
Il s'agit du PIB par heure travaillée de la France en pourcentage du PIB par heure travaillée aux Etats-Unis. Remis en perspective, on ne peut pas dire que la baisse de l'indicateur depuis dix ans soit spectaculaire...
Dans cet autre billet, il défend plus longuement l'économie française en ces termes :
French productivity – output per hour – is about the same as ours. What’s more, even during the period 1995-2005 – the years when we Americans were boasting about our productivity boom – French productivity grew only half a point slower than US productivity. And the US productivity boom now seems to be over.
Also, tales of mass unemployment are greatly exaggerated. French residents in their prime working years, ages 25-54, are as likely to be employed as their American counterparts (the employment-population ratio is 80 percent for both).
Now, it’s true that French GDP per capita is lower than ours. That reflects three things: the French work shorter hours; French people under 25 are less likely to be employed than young Americans, and the French are much more likely than Americans to retire early.
Short working hours are a choice – and it’s at least arguable that the French have made a better choice than America, the no-vacation nation.
Low employment among the young is a complicated story. To some extent it may represent lack of job openings. But a lot of it is the result of good things: young French are more likely to stay in school than young Americans, and fewer French students are forced by financial necessity to work while studying.
Finally, the French retire early. That’s a real problem: their pension system creates perverse incentives. We, of course, have this superb program called Social Security, which does a much better job.