Thesis title: Quantifying the national economy. The making of the GDP
Supervisors: Dominique Méda (IRISSO – Université Paris-Dauphine) and Alexandre Mallard (CSI – Mines Paristech)
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) constitutes a basic knowledge of the national economy. Used as an indicator of value added, the GDP allows a country’s economic activity and its evolution – referred to as economic growth – to be assessed. The thesis questions the production of this knowledge about the economy. Based an ethnographic survey involving the collection of material through interviews, observations of work situations and technical documentation, it examines the ordinary making of the French GDP figures, as it is carried out at the National Accounts Department of the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). At the crossroads of the sociology of quantification and the STS, this thesis insists on the form of organization, the types of instruments, the working operations, and the knowledge and know-how contributing to the stabilization of a figure and of its economic significance.