Hélène Blake, from the world of research to Treasury

Hélène Blake, Deputy Director to the Head of Environmental and Agriculture Offices – Direction générale du Trésor.

It was in the preparatory class «BL» that Hélène discovered the economy for the first time. After two years at ENSAE, she decided to deepen her knowledge and applied to the PSE APE master’s programme. Pr.Yann Algan is her master thesis supervisor, and becomes her PhD thesis supervisor when she decides to continue the research adventure at PSE. Familiarized with the environment of PSE, seduced by its international dimension, Hélène spent four very enriching years which led to a PhD thesis on pension reform. Along the way, she took advantage of the European doctoral programme to spend a semester at EUI in Florence. She also worked with Pr. Luc Behaghel, Pr. Bruno Crépon & Pr. Marc Gurgand on a randomized assessment of job seekers’ monitoring policies. She particularly appreciated this specific research, and especially the large degree of openness and willingness to cooperate with researchers working in the same field as her.

It is also at PSE that she met two of her co-authors, who were PhD students: Marc Sangnier and Clémentine Garrouste, they are respectively now lecturers at the University of Aix-Marseille and the University of Paris-Dauphine.

At the end of her PhD track, Hélène felt the need to move from theory to practice. What could be better for her than contributing to public policy design? In 2012, she joined the Direction générale du Trésor (French Treasury) as Deputy-Assistant to the Office Head, Retreat and Redistribute. She can then measure how much her academic studies at PSE has enabled her to master her topics. Although one cannot learned everything at school, but her academic skills made her sufficiently competent to progress successfully within the Direction générale du Trésor. Six months ago, Hélène got a new position within in the Environment and Agriculture Department.
There, she evaluates France’s environmental and agricultural policies, most often at the request of ministries offices. She analyses the economic relevance and suggests possible alternatives. This position fully satisfies her, but in the future she hopes to diversify her fields of expertise outside ministries and government offices.

If there is one advice that Hélène would like to give to PSE students, it would be, “Don’t work alone but surround yourself as best you can.”

Source: La Lettre PSE, March 2016