Meeting the Challenges of Decentralisation in France
Despite France’s previously well-deserved reputation as a highly centralised state, a significant number of responsibilities have been devolved to regional and local government over the past two decades. The process has not been easy. The extremely large number of very small municipalities makes economies of scale in the implementation of policies hard to realise, and measures to overcome this have been at best only partially successful. Competence is often shared between levels of government, obscuring accountability, and the central government has often retained an arguably unnecessary degree of prerogatives. Reorganising the system to avoid overlapping responsibilities and improving transparency and accountability in local government finance provide some difficult challenges. This Working Paper relates to the 2007 OECD Economic Survey of France (www.oecd.org/eco/survey/france), and is also available in French under the title “Faire face aux défis de la décentralisation en France”.
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