Bringing French Public Debt Down: The Options for Fiscal Consolidation
AbstractFrance has a track record of persistent general government deficits, partly reflecting pro-cyclical fiscal policies in upswings. This has resulted in a quadrupling of its public debt-to-GDP ratio since the 1970s to above 80% of GDP. Reducing public debt is crucial because a high level of public debt may hamper long-term growth and may have a direct impact on fiscal sustainability if long-term interest rates rise. Bringing back public debt to 60% of GDP even by 2030 would require a fiscal effort of 4 to 5 percentage points of GDP (under the assumption of unchanged long-term rates), implying permanent primary general government surpluses, which is very ambitious in view of French fiscal history since 1970. The government?s consolidation programme, which is aimed at reducing the general government deficit to 3% of GDP by 2013, represents around two-thirds of this effort. This study analyses how fiscal governance could be improved by the creation of a structural deficit rule and looks at ways the public deficit could be lowered. With France already having a very large public sector, most of the effort should be borne by holding down spending. Better control of the public wage bill, increasing public-sector efficiency and tackling age-related costs are the obvious candidates to contain expenditure. On the revenue side, there is significant potential for cutting tax expenditures. Furthermore, eliminating distortions in the tax base would encourage economic growth.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 858.
Date of creation: 21 Apr 2011
Date of revision:
government spending; local governments; tax expenditure; general government deficit; pension system; structural deficit; tax revenues; public debt; healthcare; fiscal rule; fiscal council;
Other versions of this item:
- Balazs Egert, 2012. "Bringing French Public Debt Down: The Options for Fiscal Consolidation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3928, CESifo Group Munich.
- H19 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Other
- H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
- H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
- H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
- H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
- H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
- H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
- H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
- H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
- H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
- H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
- H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ACC-2011-08-29 (Accounting & Auditing)
- NEP-ALL-2011-08-29 (All new papers)
- NEP-PBE-2011-08-29 (Public Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," Scholarly Articles 11129154, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Isabelle Joumard & Christophe André, 2008. "Revenue Buoyancy and its Fiscal Policy Implications," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 598, OECD Publishing.
- Balazs Egert, 2012.
"Fiscal Policy Reaction to the Cycle in the OECD: Pro- or Counter-Cyclical?,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
3777, CESifo Group Munich.
- Balázs Égert, 2010. "Fiscal Policy Reaction to the Cycle in the OECD: Pro- or Counter-cyclical?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 763, OECD Publishing.
- Balázs Égert, 2012. "Fiscal Policy Reaction to the Cycle in the OECD: Pro- or Counter-cyclical?," EconomiX Working Papers 2012-12, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
- Xavier Debrun & David Hauner & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2009. "Independent Fiscal Agencies," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 44-81, 02.
- Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2010.
"Growth in a Time of Debt,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
7661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Lars Jonung & Martin Larch, 2006.
"Improving fiscal policy in the EU: the case for independent forecasts,"
CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 21(47), pages 491-534, 07.
- Lars Jonung & Martin Larch, 2004. "Improving fiscal policy in the EU: the case for independent forecasts," European Economy - Economic Papers 210, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
- Isabell Koske, 2010. "After the Crisis - Bringing German Public Finances Back to a Sustainable Path," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 766, OECD Publishing.
- Isabelle Joumard & Christophe André & Chantal Nicq, 2010. "Health Care Systems: Efficiency and Institutions," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 769, OECD Publishing.
- Brigitte Granville, 2013. "The Current Eurozone – an impediment to critical French reform," Working Papers 42, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
- Charles Amo Yartey & Machiko Narita & Garth Peron Nicholls & Joel Chiedu Okwuokei, 2012. "The Challenges of Fiscal Consolidation and Debt Reduction in the Caribbean," IMF Working Papers 12/276, International Monetary Fund.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.