My letter to the NY Times re: Youth Unemployment in France Can Be Cured


Subject: Youth Unemployment in France Can Be Cured
Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2012 13:05:06 -0500

Re: Young, Educated and Jobless in France

Dear Sirs:

This excellent article implies that the current phenomenon of high levels of youth unemployment in France is a special case and that future generations will find work in their chosen field.  But what is France doing that will bring about that happy result?  Very little.  It is no secret to anyone, including the French, why there is so much youth unemployment.  The government has caused massive disequilibria in the labor market by its anti-business and pro-union laws that, among other things, make it difficult to hire full time workers and impossible to fire them.  Furthermore, the French system of subsidized higher education produces people with the wrong skills.  To top it off, the French welfare system allows the young to remain unemployed and not train for the blue collar jobs that are going begging.  So, the answer is clear–liberalize the labor market, reduce government subsidies to higher education, and reduce unemployment welfare payments.  In other words, get government out of the labor market.  Patrick Barron

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