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European Social Models From Crisis to CrisisEmployment and Inequality in the Era of Monetary Integration$
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Jon Erik Dølvik and Andrew Martin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717966

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717966.001.0001

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France in the Middle

France in the Middle

Chapter:
(p.105) 4 France in the Middle
Source:
European Social Models From Crisis to Crisis
Author(s):

Jacques Le Cacheux

George Ross

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717966.003.0004

France has been an “in between” case, neither prosperous nor declining, with a generous welfare state, strong employment protection, and modest income inequality. Elite values, the high political risks of large changes, and a political system that makes governments vulnerable to small shifts in opinion are among the causes. There has been no shortage of reforms, including supply-side policies and quests for new revenues, but without either harsh neo-liberalism or corporatist adaptability. France’s economy has been comparatively successful, but success has become harder, mainly because EMU has narrowed macroeconomic room for maneuver. High unemployment and dualism have tested the social contract while recent economic crises have tested EMU limits. Low growth reduces revenues and expands unemployment, and new taxation is politically disruptive. Governing political parties and the political system itself may be losing credibility because of deindustrialization, stagnant productivity, and losses in market share. Is France an unexploded ticking bomb?

Keywords:   France, Gaullist statism, dualism, social spending, Bismarckian–Beveridgean hybrid, Eurozone crisis

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