Working Paper BETA #2022-34

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Title : De l’Ecole Polytechnique et l’Ecole de la Régulation. Michel Aglietta, 1959 – 1979

Author(s) : Yamina Tadjeddine

Abstract : Ecole of Regulation emerged in France in the mid-1970s. The two founding figures of this school are Michel Aglietta and Robert Boyer. In this article, we propose to follow Aglietta's personal and professional career between 1959 and 1976 to understand the genesis of regulation theory. Aglietta's career is structured by three formative phases, each of which is successively presented: student at the Ecole Polytechnique (1959-1965), senior civil servant at the INSEE (1965-1970), doctoral student (1970-1974). The Ecole de la Régulation is based on an original epistemic composite: the time spent at the Ecole Polytechnique and the programme division of the INSEE provided the macro-economic foundation, the use of national accounting, the hypothetico-deductive methodology; the stay at Harvard the American institutionalism; the personal affinities with Marxism and the work of François Perroux. The methodology mixes formal modelling from macroeconomics, historical materialism from Marxism, the use of national accounting and finally historical data on organisations from institutionalist heritage. We also highlight three ethical presupposition - tolerant humanism, state benevolence and prescriptive positivism - that run through Aglietta's scientific work and have their origins in the period 1959-1968, marked by the reconstruction of France after the Second World War and the Algerian War. This work is based on numerous interviews, on the analysis of published works and on the consultation of archives.

Key-words : Ecole de la Régulation, Michel Aglietta, French Planning, History of economic though.

JEL Classification : B5