Remembering Jean-Jacques Laffont: celebrating his life, work, and legacy

May 01, 2024 Campus

On May 1st, we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the passing of Jean-Jacques Laffont, a luminary in the field of economics whose legacy continues to illuminate the path for countless scholars and practitioners around the world.

Born on April 13, 1947, in Toulouse, France, and departing from this world on May 1, 2004, in Colomiers, Laffont's indelible contributions to the realms of public economics and information theory have left an everlasting mark on academia, policy-making, and beyond.

As distinguished professor of economics at the University of Toulouse Capitole and a director of studies at the EHESS, Laffont was not only a teacher but also a visionary. In 1990, he laid the cornerstone for the Institute of Industrial Economics (IDEI), which swiftly evolved into one of Europe's foremost hubs for economic research. Through IDEI, Laffont fostered an environment where innovative ideas flourished, nurturing generations of economists and shaping the discourse on industrial organization, regulation, and beyond.

Laffont's intellectual prowess extended far beyond the confines of academia. His oeuvre comprises 17 influential books and over 200 scholarly articles, each a testament to his relentless pursuit of knowledge and his commitment to unraveling the complexities of economic phenomena. His research spanned a wide spectrum, from the intricacies of incentive theory to the intricacies of market regulation, leaving an indelible imprint on the discipline.

Beyond his scholarly endeavors, Laffont's warmth, humility, and generosity endeared him to colleagues and students alike. He was not only a mentor but also a friend, always willing to impart wisdom and guidance to those who sought it.

Since 2005, Toulouse School of Economics has been organizing the annual Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize. This prestigious award is bestowed upon a renowned international economist whose research, in the spirit of the work undertaken by Professor Jean-Jacques Laffont, combines both the theoretical and the empirical. The prize laureate presents his or her work at a public lecture, in partnership with the city of Toulouse and its Mayor. Learn more about the prize.

As we reflect on the legacy of Jean-Jacques Laffont two decades after his passing,we celebrate his academic achievements and cherish the values he embodied – intellectual curiosity, integrity, and a profound commitment to the betterment of society. Though he may no longer walk among us, his ideas continue to inspire, his wisdom continues to guide, and his legacy continues to thrive in the hearts and minds of all those touched by his brilliance.