The foundation was created in 2007 in the name of Jean-Jacques Laffont, one of the great economic theorists of our time and a leading figure in the development of modern economics in France. This was enabled by the French Government's and the Academy of Sciences' decision to choose TSE as one of the 13 centers of excellence for France (Réseaux Thématiques de Recherche Avancée) across all fields. This foundation is building an endowment in order to secure long term financing for a research center, the Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), that can attract students and researchers form all over the world.
The foundation's primary purpose is to conduct and encourage first-class research in the field of economics and related social sciences at TSE. The foundation offers Senior and Junior Chairs to attract renowned and promising researchers and to help them get settled into the French scientific community. The foundation also encourages publications in the best international scientific journals, strengthen the doctoral programme (international scholarships). A program of seed-funding, that finances promising research projects, and a merit-based publication prizes and outstanding vitae awards program (including teaching buyouts) have also been implemented. A series of TSE Working Papers has been published.
Jean-Jacques Laffont Foundation also contributes to the public debate and gives access to recent research breakthrough to private and public decision-makers. Recent contributions include substantial work on financial regulatory reform, climate change negotiations, and competition policy. TSE notes, op-eds, and conferences are among the key actions in this direction. New initiatives are in the making.
Since its creation, the foundation has focused on strenghtening the research team thanks to senior and junior researcher hiring. The Chair Program, for senior economists of any nationality is designed to attract researchers of international quality to Toulouse. This program resulted in the invitation of Prof. Wouter Dessein from the University of Chicago for one year, as well as Bernard Salanié (in 2009) from Columbia University. Permanent recruitments for 2009-2010, include Christian Hellwig (UCLA), Margaret Kyle (LBS), Guillaume Plantin (LBS) and Augustin Landier (NYU). In 2011, three researchers joint TSE : Ingela Alger (Toulouse University), Roland Benabou (MIT) and Patrick Bolton (London School of Economics).
Junior chairs are also available to young researchers who have just completed their doctoral studies. These chairs facilitate the recruitment of young researchers into permanent positions at TSE. This initiative has led to the hiring of Giuseppe Attanasi (University of Bocconi, Milan), or more recently of Ernesto Pasten (Boston University) and Christoph Rothe (University of Mannheim). In 2010, three more researchers joint TSE: Renato Gomes (Northwestern University), Roberto Pancrazi (Duke University) and Yinghua He (Columbia University). More recently, in 2011, three researchers joint TSE: Irene Botosaru (Yale University), Lucas Maestri (Yale University) and Marti Mestieri (MIT).
To recruit Junior chairs, TSE participates every year in the international recruiting market of young economists through the US-located “Job Market.”