Bringing French Public Debt Down: The Options for Fiscal Consolidation
France 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.
|Date of creation:||21 Apr 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16|
Phone: 33-(0)-1-45 24 82 00
Fax: 33-(0)-1-45 24 85 00
Web page: http://www.oecd.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Isabell Koske, 2010. "After the Crisis - Bringing German Public Finances Back to a Sustainable Path," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 766, OECD Publishing.
- 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, 2014. "Fiscal policy reaction to the cycle in the OECD: pro- or counter-cyclical?," Mondes en développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(3), pages 35-52.
- 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.
- Balazs Egert, 2012. "Fiscal Policy Reaction to the Cycle in the OECD: Pro- or Counter-Cyclical?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3777, CESifo Group Munich.
- Isabelle Joumard & Christophe André & Chantal Nicq, 2010. "Health Care Systems: Efficiency and Institutions," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 769, OECD Publishing.
- Xavier Debrun & David Hauner & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2009. "Independent Fiscal Agencies," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 44-81, 02.
- 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 Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
- Lars Jonung & Martin Larch, 2006. "Improving fiscal policy in the EU: the case for independent forecasts," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 21(47), pages 491-534, 07.
- Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010.
"Growth in a Time of Debt,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 573-78, May.
- Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," Scholarly Articles 11129154, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," NBER Working Papers 15639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 7661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Isabelle Joumard & Christophe André, 2008. "Revenue Buoyancy and its Fiscal Policy Implications," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 598, OECD Publishing.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:858-en. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.