French Politics

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 228–256 | Cite as

Why do academics oppose the market economy? Sophistication and perception of market failures

  • Abel FrançoisEmail author
  • Cal Le Gall
  • Raul Magni Berton
Original Article


Rejection of the market economy is widespread in academia. This fact has often been observed, but rarely explained. Using a large survey on French academics which replicates questions used in international surveys, this article confirms that French academics are hostile to market economy principles in comparison with the French population. Two explanations are tested: the first posits that academics—as knowledge providers—are likely to experience a “public good” market failure. Their rejection of the market economy is thus linked to their specific positioning vis-à-vis the market economy itself. The second hypothesis assumes that academics are not involved in market activities. Consequently, this lack of familiarity leads academics to be more suspicious towards an institution they barely experience. Both hypotheses are consistent with our data.


Market economy Opinions Academics France 



The authors would thank Nicolas Eber, Nicolas Sauger and Pierre Bréchon for their help on the survey design and Pierre-Guillaume Méon for fruitful discussion. Any errors remain ours.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abel François
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cal Le Gall
    • 2
  • Raul Magni Berton
    • 3
  1. 1.University of LilleLEM (UMR 9221)LilleFrance
  2. 2.UCLouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  3. 3.Sciences Po Grenoble (PACTE)Univ. Grenoble-AlpesSaint-Martin-d’HèresFrance

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