In defense of France’s “family quotient”

By Henri Sterdyniak

At the start of 2012, some Socialist Party leaders have renewed the claim that the “family quotient” tax-splitting system is unfair because it does not benefit poor families who do not pay taxes, and benefits rich families more than it does poor families. This reveals some misunderstanding about how the tax and social welfare system works. Continue reading “In defense of France’s “family quotient””

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AAA, AA+: much Ado About no+hing?

by Jérôme Creel

The loss of France’s AAA rating on Friday the 13th ofJanuary 2012 was a historic event. It poses three questions: should the austerity measures announced in autumn 2011 be strengthened? Why has Germany been singled out? And what is to be done now? Continue reading “AAA, AA+: much Ado About no+hing?”

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“Social VAT”: Is it anti-social?

by Jacques Le Cacheux

The prospect of a “social” value added tax, which was raised anew by the President of France on December 31 during his New Year speech, is once again provoking controversy. While the French employers association, the MEDEF, has included this measure in a series of proposed tax changes designed to restore France’s competitiveness, the Left is mostly opposed. It views the “social VAT” as an oxymoron, an antisocial measure that is designed to cut the purchasing power of consumers and hits the poorest among them disproportionately and unfairly. But what exactly are we talking about? And from the viewpoint of taxes on consumption, what is the situation in France relative to its main European partners? Continue reading ““Social VAT”: Is it anti-social?”

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The very great recession

Economic outlook updated for the major developed countries in 2012

OFCE Department of Analysis and Forecasting, under the direction of Xavier Timbeau

The growth outlook for the developed countries, in Europe in particular, have deteriorated dramatically in recent weeks. The “voluntary and negotiated” devaluation of Greek sovereign debt securities, which is really nothing but a sovereign default, the wave of budget cuts being announced even as budget bills are still debated, the inability of the European Union to mobilize its forces to deal with the crisis – all these factors render the forecasts made two months ago obsolete. For many European countries, including France, 2012 will be a year of recession. Continue reading “The very great recession”

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Fiscal consolidation wrong-footed

By Sabine Le Bayon

Should deficit reduction be the priority of governments today?

The constraints imposed by the Stability Pact and especially by the financial markets on Europe’s governments do not leave them much leeway. But while there is no avoiding the issue of the sustainability of public debt, we also need to take into account the recessionary impact of austerity programs on economic activity, particularly during a period of recovery. Continue reading “Fiscal consolidation wrong-footed”

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Should tax breaks on overtime be reversed?

By Eric Heyer

Among the savings plans announced on 24 August 2011 by French Prime Minister François Fillon figures a change to the system of tax reductions on overtime hours and their exemption from social contributions,[1] a scheme that has been in force in France since 1 October 2007. This provides an opportunity to take another look at some of the main conclusions of the work carried out by the OFCE (French version) on this subject. Continue reading “Should tax breaks on overtime be reversed?”

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What impact will fiscal policy have on French growth?

By Eric Heyer

The proper framework for analyzing the French economy is a large economy that is not very open, and not a small open economy: the country’s economic situation has deteriorated sharply and is still far from its equilibrium position (mass unemployment, the existence of excess capacity), and its European neighbours are adopting identical approaches to fiscal policy. Under these conditions, everything indicates that the fiscal multipliers are high. The theoretical debate about the value of the multiplier and the role of agents’ expectations must therefore give way to the empirical evidence: the multipliers are positive and greater than one. Continue reading “What impact will fiscal policy have on French growth?”

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