Should the Stability and Growth Pact be strengthened?

By Jérôme Creel, Paul Hubert and Francesco Saraceno
The European fiscal crisis and the ensuing need to reduce the levels of public debt accelerated the adoption of a series of reforms of European fiscal rules in late 2011. Two rules were introduced to strengthen the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). Given that many Member States in the euro zone have structural deficits and public debts that exceed the thresholds under consideration, it seemed worthwhile to assess the macroeconomic implications of compliance with these fiscal rules by four countries, including France. Continue reading “Should the Stability and Growth Pact be strengthened?”

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Is our health system in danger? Dealing with the shortage of doctors (2/4)

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 second issue, presented here, concerns access to care, which could become more complicated due to a temporary reduction in the number of doctors. Continue reading “Is our health system in danger? Dealing with the shortage of doctors (2/4)”

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Replacing the “Prime pour l’emploi” benefit by a reduction in employee social security contributions on low wages

By Guillaume Allègre

Nicolas Sarkozy has announced plans to replace the “prime pour l’emploi” benefit (“PPE”) by lowering the social security contributions of workers earning between 1 and 1.3 times the minimum wage (“SMIC”). The reduction on contributions would amount to 4 billion euros and would benefit 7 million low-wage workers. The gain announced (just under 1,000 euros per year) would necessarily be regressive. The elimination of the PPE (2.8 billion euros according to the 2012 Budget Bill, p. 76) would be supplemented by higher taxes on financial income. Continue reading “Replacing the “Prime pour l’emploi” benefit by a reduction in employee social security contributions on low wages”

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Fiscal policy honoured

By Jérôme Creel

“The size of many multipliers is large, particularly for spending and targeted transfers.” Who today would dare to write such a thing? Continue reading “Fiscal policy honoured”

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Is our health system in danger? The financing of health insurance and the crisis (1/4)

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 Continue reading “Is our health system in danger? The financing of health insurance and the crisis (1/4)”

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The 35 billion euro man

By Henri Sterdyniak

Sarkozy has cost France 500 billion. This is the central point of the book Un quinquennat de 500 milliards d’euros [A 500 billion euro five-year term] by Melanie Delattre and Emmanuel Levy. According to the authors, out of the 632 billion euro rise in France’s debt between late 2006 and late 2011, only 109 billion can be attributed to the crisis, while the remaining 523 billion are the price of the five-year reign of Nicolas Sarkozy. Of this total, 370 billion is said to be due to a failure to correct past mismanagement and 153 billion to wasteful decisions taken during his 5-year term in office. Should we take these figures seriously? Continue reading “The 35 billion euro man”

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Competitiveness at the expense of equality?

By Hélène Périvier

Working time has made its appearance in the presidential campaign, and the idea that people work less in France than elsewhere is gaining ground. This is the subject of a report by COE-Rexecode, which unfortunately does not take into account the sexual division of labour. Continue reading “Competitiveness at the expense of equality?”

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Working hours and economic performance: What lessons can be drawn from the Coe-Rexecode report?

By Eric Heyer and Mathieu Plane

Do people work less in France than in the rest of Europe? Is France the only country to have reduced working hours in the last decade? Is the 35-hour work week really dragging down the French economy? The report published on 11 January by the Coe-Rexecode Institute provides fresh material for answering these questions.

We have produced a note on the main conclusions of the report, which can be summarized as follows: Continue reading “Working hours and economic performance: What lessons can be drawn from the Coe-Rexecode report?”

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“Buy French”: From the slogan to the reality

By Jean-Luc Gaffard, Sarah Guillou, Lionel Nesta

The current election campaign is lending weight to simplistic proposals like the slogan “buy French”, which evokes the need for France to re-industrialize. And to accomplish this, what could be simpler than to convince the population to buy native products designated with a special label? This is also more politically correct than advocating a straightforward return to protectionism. Continue reading ““Buy French”: From the slogan to the reality”

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What employment policy during a crisis?

By Marion Cochard

After a lull of only a year, unemployment figures started to rise again in April 2011. We are seeing a replay of the dynamics of the 2008 recession: a hiring freeze and the non-renewal of temporary and fixed-term (“CDD”) contracts, with redundancies to follow later in the year. The reason, of course, is the current economic downturn, which is hitting while French business margins are still in bad shape after the shock of 2008-2009, particularly in industry. Continue reading “What employment policy during a crisis?”

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