Paris — Voters in France’s presidential election are being asked to choose between supply-side economic reform, as offered by candidates such as centrist Emmanuel Macron and centre-right François Fillon, and demand-side reform, as promoted by the National Front’s Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The reality is that France needs both at the same time — one without the other won’t work. In other words, what France needs is "l'Abenomics". It’s unusual to see comparisons between France and Japan, yet the countries’ macro-economic pictures share some common features. The drags on growth are broadly similar: large public debts, an aging population, deflationary pressures, a two-tiered labour market, an over-regulated service sector, a tradition of industrial policy, and a revolving door between the upper echelons of business and government. Growth has been disappointing in both countries despite world-class infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce, world-beating firms and cultural ...

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