Towards a major tax reform?

By Guillaume Allègre and Mathieu Plane (eds.)

Taxation is more at the heart of the current election campaign and public debate than ever before. The economic and financial crisis, coupled with the goal of rapidly reducing the deficit, is inevitably shaking up the electoral discourse and forcing us to confront the complexity of our tax system. How do taxes interact with each other? What are the effects? How are they measured? What kind of consensual basis and constraints does taxation require? How should the tax burden be distributed among the economic actors? How should social welfare be financed? Should we advocate a “tax revolution” or incremental reform? The contributions to a special “Tax Reform” issue of the Revue de l’OFCE – Débats et Politiques aim to clarify and enrich this discussion. Continue reading “Towards a major tax reform?”

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Must balancing the public finances be the main goal of economic policy

By Henri Sterdyniak

The financial crisis of 2007-2012 caused a sharp rise in public deficits and debt as States had to intervene to save the financial system and support economic activity, and especially as they experienced a steep drop in tax revenues due to falling GDP. In early 2012, at a time when they are far from having recovered from the effects of the crisis (which cost them an average of 8 GDP points compared to the pre-crisis trend), they face a difficult choice: should they continue to support activity, or do whatever it takes to reduce public deficits and debt? Continue reading “Must balancing the public finances be the main goal of economic policy”

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The new European treaty, the euro and sovereignty

By Christophe Blot

On 2 March 2012, 25 countries in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) adopted a new treaty providing for greater fiscal discipline. The treaty became an object of dispute almost before the ink was dry [1], as Francois Hollande announced that, if elected, he would seek to renegotiate it in order to emphasize the need to address growth. There is no doubt that a turnabout like this on a treaty that was so fiercely negotiated would be frowned upon by a number of our European partners. The merit of strengthening fiscal discipline in a time of crisis is, nevertheless, an issue worth posing. Continue reading “The new European treaty, the euro and sovereignty”

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The citizen must be the foundation of any industrial policy — even a free market one

By Sarah Guillou

The purpose of industrial policy is to direct productive specialization towards sectors that are deemed strategic for well-being or economic growth. This means recognizing that productive specialization is important for growth. But what criteria should be used to determine the importance of a given sector? The argument developed here is that there are no sound criteria that do not refer to the collective preferences of present and future citizens. Continue reading “The citizen must be the foundation of any industrial policy — even a free market one”

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Is government expenditure in France too high?

By Xavier Timbeau

Since 2005, France has vied with Denmark for first place in terms of government expenditure as reported by the OECD. Since the ratio of “government expenditure” to GDP reached 56.6% in 2010, it has been necessary, according to a widely held view, to “deflate” a State that is taking up “too much” space in the economy. First place would thus be, not a badge of honour, but a sign that we have reached an unsustainable level of “government expenditure”. Continue reading “Is government expenditure in France too high?”

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He who sows austerity reaps recession

By the Department of Analysis and Forecasting, headed by X. Timbeau

This article summarizes OFCE note no.16 that gives the outlook on the global economy for 2012-2013.

The sovereign debt crisis has passed its peak. Greece’s public debt has been restructured and, at the cost of a default, will fall from 160% of GDP to 120%. This restructuring has permitted the release of financial support from the Troika to Greece, which for the time being solves the problem of financing the renewal of the country’s public debt. The contagion that hit most euro zone countries, and which was reflected in higher sovereign rates, has been stopped. Tension has eased considerably since the beginning of 2012, and the risk that the euro zone will break up has been greatly reduced, at least in the short term. Nevertheless, the process of the Great Recession that began in 2008 being transformed into a very Great Recession has not been interrupted by the temporary relief of the Greek crisis. Continue reading “He who sows austerity reaps recession”

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Yes, the national accounts will be revised after the election

By Hervé Péléraux and Lionel Persyn[1]

In a Europe that is heading more and more clearly towards a recession, in mid-February the INSEE reported a 0.2% rise in France’s GDP. This fourth-quarter performance was surprising, as it contrasts sharply with the deterioration in the economic climate since summer 2011, which indicated that GDP growth would be less favourable than that announced. Continue reading “Yes, the national accounts will be revised after the election”

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On the taxation of household income and capital

By Henri Sterdyniak

The idea is very widespread that in France unearned income benefits from an especially low level of taxation and that the French system could be made fairer by simply raising this level. In an OFCE Note, we compare the taxation on capital income with that on labour income, and show that most of it is taxed just as highly.  Continue reading “On the taxation of household income and capital”

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Is our health system in danger? Reorienting the reform of health management (4/4)

By Gérard Cornilleau

Health is one of the key concerns of the French. Yet it has not been a major topic of political debate, probably due to the highly technical nature of the problems involved in the financing and management of the health care system. An OFCE note presents four issues that we believe are crucial in the current context of a general economic crisis: the last major concern about the health system is hospital financing. This underwent severe change in 2005 with the launch of the T2A system, which reintroduced a direct financial relationship between the activity of the hospitals and their financial resources. It has reinforced the importance and power of the “managers”, which could give the impression that hospitals were henceforth to be regarded as undertakings subject to the dictates of profitability. Continue reading “Is our health system in danger? Reorienting the reform of health management (4/4)”

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Is our health system in danger? Reforming the reimbursement of care (3/4)

By Gérard Cornilleau

Health is one of the key concerns of the French. Yet it has not been a major topic of political debate, probably due to the highly technical nature of the problems involved in the financing and management of the health care system. An OFCE note presents four issues that we believe are crucial in the current context of a general economic crisis: the third issue, presented here, concerns the reimbursement of health care, in particular long-term care, and the rise in physician surcharges. Continue reading “Is our health system in danger? Reforming the reimbursement of care (3/4)”

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