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MIT Sloan professor elected to French government


MIT Sloan associate professor Jean-Noël Barrot will take a leave of absence after being elected last month to the French National Assembly. He will represent the department of Yvelines and was also elected to vice president of the finance committee. He started his five-year term immediately after the June 18 election.

Barrot, who ran as part of Le République En Marche! party, the same party as new French President Emmanuel Macron, ran on a platform of reforming the labor market and making sure that everyone has equal access to education, among other issues. This applies not only to secondary school students, but also to adults who are laid off from their jobs or who leave their positions to pursue entrepreneurial enterprises. Barrot believes both those categories of people should have equal access to professional and vocational training to help them achieve their career goals.

Barrot’s plans also include helping the French economy reach its full potential, but to make sure that it does so in a manner that is respectful of the environment, and that new sectors are creating jobs in clean energy and clean tech.

Though Barrot will be taking a leave of absence from MIT Sloan while he serves in the French government, he will not be leaving his work behind completely. He believes that his research while at MIT Sloan has informed his political platform and will continue to influence his policies while in office. For instance, part of Barrot’s research focused on small businesses, and his plans while in office include making public procurement more readily accessible for small businesses.

He also conducted research on QuickPay while at MIT Sloan, a U.S. government initiative that speeds up payments from federal agencies to small business contractors, with the goal of paying them within 15 days. “I found that this had a strong effect on employment,” Barrot said, explaining that he has proposed to put together a system in France that would act in a similar fashion, automatically paying small businesses that are waiting for payment from the government. The government agency would then be charged with finding the funds.

Barrot’s focus on vocational training is also related to his research, and it is an issue he feels strongly about. “In order to give people a chance to avoid falling into poverty, we need to help them transfer into another sector,” he said.

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