Growth, Innovation and Inequality

What the World Can Learn from Japan

This international conference is organized for the 10th anniversary of the Fondation France-Japon de l’EHESS (FFJ) and hosted by the Maison de la culture du Japon in Paris (MCJP). It aims to discuss some of the major economic, political and societal challenges of the 21st century – growth, innovation, inequality – with the belief that it is possible to learn from Japan’s answers to these challenges, especially in terms of public policy. It is crucial to delve into these issues in this atmosphere of increasing uncertainty and tension in various forms. From a perspective that is both multidisciplinary and combines the views of France and Japan, this event will bring together figures from the worlds of academia, institutions and business.

Free entry on registration.


9:30 │ Welcome to the participants

10:00-10:30 │ Opening Session

10:30-12:30 │ Round Table n°1 “Growth: a secular stagnation?”

Like many other OECD countries, France and Japan have experienced low growth for the past few decades, after a period of high growth, fuelling debates on secular stagnation. The purpose of this round table is to compare perspectives from different disciplines, geographic areas and sectors on this complex phenomenon. In particular, the following topic will be discussed: the link between demography and economic growth; the notion of optimal growth from an environment point of view; the relevance of indicators for measuring national wealth and well-being; the growth prospects in non-OECD regions such as Africa, China and other Asian countries, as well as those of sectors (information and communication technologies, ICT); the more material aspects of growth and urban reduction.


14:00-16:00 │ Round Table n°2 “Innovation beyond technology”

If there is one subject on which there is consensus today, it is the importance of innovation, whether at the level of a nation’s economy or of a company. However, the innovation paradigm has been heavily criticized for several years now following disasters (e.g., nuclear), health scandals (e.g., related to the use of specific medications or pesticides), but also after the realization of a discrepancy between the growth of R&D investment and the stagnation of well-being. In this context, this round table aims to contribute to the debate on the nature and goal of innovation. Experts on innovation, those responsible for science and technology policy in governments, for research policy in the major scientific institutions, for R&D in the most innovative companies, will discuss the importance of social innovation beyond technology, the criteria for evaluating desirable innovation from a social point of view, but also the role of the social sciences and humanities, basing this discussion on many examples in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, transport, healthcare and the environment.


16:30-18:30 │ Round Table n°3 “What inequality? What answers? Inclusive growth or redistribution?”

Neither Japan or France have escaped the current trend of rising inequality. However, this increase has a specific and worrying form for each country, with the emergence of new forms of poverty. Faced with this situation, we must ask ourselves, how do we define the new social compromises that will effectively reduce inequality to a more acceptable level for society as a whole. Two main options are on the table: a more substantial ex-post redistribution (mainly through tax); and/or outlining a more inclusive growth model for ex-ante reduction of inequality. This round table aims to discuss these two options through contributions from scholars and the major international, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as by extending the discussion to other regions of the world.


18:30-19:00 │ Closing Session


More informations

  • Tuesday 4 June 2019 - 09:00 to 19:00
  • Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris (Grande salle) - 101 bis Quai Branly 75015 Paris
Sébastien Lechevalier