IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/wpaper/hal-00547752.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Accounting, the State and democracy: a long term perspective on the French experiment, 1716-1967

Author

Listed:
  • Yannick Lemarchand

    () (LEMNA - Laboratoire d'économie et de management de Nantes Atlantique - UN - Université de Nantes)

Abstract

Accounting tools and procedures played a significant role in the development of the modern State, in the implementation of democracy and in its operation. This paper sets out to illustrate several aspects of this long term relationship by examining the French example. We firstly look at two fundamental improvements which occurred in the public sector accounting, in the early nineteenth century, i.e., the implementation of an efficient tax collecting system, replacing private tax-collecting agencies by a centralised bureaucratic administration, after several unsuccessful attempts during the eighteenth century, and the organisation of the parliamentary control on public expenditure through the adoption of budgetary rules and the definition of control mechanisms. With the Réglement général de la comptabilité publique of 1838, the design of the general framework of French public sector accounting was completed and was to last for over a century. The paper then examines the intervention of the State in the regulation of private sector accounting, in two phases. Only after World War I did State begin to intervene in private accounting practices, because of the creation of an income tax, defining a set of accounting rules with the aim of optimizing income tax performance. At a later date, by the end of the Interwar years, the growing interest for the ideas encompassing a co-ordinated economy and economic planning gradually shaped a further stage in accounting regulation with the adoption of a national accounting chart or the Plan comptable général of 1947. One of the main objectives was to obtain accounting data that were sufficiently homogeneous to be aggregated for the construction of national income statistics and the development of national accounting. These choices contributed to France's economic recovery after World War II. During these 250 years, accounting as a technology of power, knowledge and control, was enrolled in the service of strengthening the State in various respects, and became one of the governance tools of modern democracy This proactive policy contrasts sharply with the abandonment of sovereignty from the European countries regarding accounting regulation, in favour of a non-European private organisation, i.e. the IASB.

Suggested Citation

  • Yannick Lemarchand, 2010. "Accounting, the State and democracy: a long term perspective on the French experiment, 1716-1967," Working Papers hal-00547752, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00547752
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00547752
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00547752/document
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Yves Levant & Marc Nikitin, 2011. "Les comptabilités financière et de gestion peuvent elles être totalement intégrées ?," Post-Print hal-00650547, HAL.
    2. Hoskin, Keith & Macve, Richard, 2012. "Contesting the indigenous development of “Chinese double-entry bookkeeping” and its significance in China’s economic institutions and business organization before c.1850," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 42583, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Accounting and the State; accounting standardisation; modern fiscal State; public sector accounting; French history;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00547752. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (CCSD). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.