OECD Territorial Reviews

1990-0759 (online)
1990-0767 (print)
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This series offers analysis and policy guidance to national and subnational governments seeking to strengthen territorial development policies and governance. These reviews are part of a larger body of OECD work on regional development that addresses the territorial dimension of a range of policy challenges, including governance, innovation, urban development and rural policy. This work includes both thematic reports and reports on specific countries or regions.

Also available in French
OECD Territorial Reviews: France 2006

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08 Aug 2006
9789264022669 (PDF) ;9789264022652(print)

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This detailed policy review examines recent developments in regional policy in France and in particular, challenges regarding competiveness policies and multilevel governance. It includes interesting statistics related to regions and makes a series of recommendations for French authorities.
Also available in French
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  • Assessment and Recommendations
    In recent years, the slowdown in growth and difficulties in strengthening the competitiveness of the French economy have led the government to pay more attention to the country’s structural weaknesses. These include recurring problems of high unemployment, poor performance in net business creation, scant R&D investment in the private sector, and an insufficient ability of firms to co-operate. These problems affect all regions to a greater or lesser degree, impairing their capacity for growth and job creation...
  • Trends and Challenges in the Territories
    France has a singular spatial and economic profile characterised by a dominant capital region, active peripheral regions and an intermediate zone where growth is slower and the population density relatively low. This situation is not static, however. In economic and demographic terms, for example, significant trends have been apparent for at least the past ten years, namely: higher growth rates in regions and cities other than Paris, improvements in rural areas, rising residential growth dynamics...
  • Territorial Strategies and Competitiveness Policies
    The main object of French regional policy for many years was to promote the even distribution of production and employment across the country. Successive governments sought, in particular, to reduce the excessive predominance of the area around the capital and focused on enabling the regions that had been lagging behind, in western and central France, to catch up, as well as on the development gap between urban and rural areas. For the most part, this was a directive rather than an incentive-based regional planning policy that promoted spatial renewal, infrastructure and public investment in disadvantaged areas. This approach, prominent during the "thirty glorious years" after the Second World War, was also characterised by the concentration of decision-making at central level, while the regions implemented the policies in a passive manner. Regional development was at that time part of the National Plan, with national strategy being implemented by the DATAR. From this standpoint, governance was seen as a matter of hierarchy, with local authorities functioning to some degree as "agents" for central government, which alone could decide on policy...
  • Multilevel Governance Geared to Co-operation
    The shift in French regional policy toward focussing more squarely on strengthening territorial competitiveness while maintaining national cohesion poses some major challenges of governance. Do policymakers involved with territorial development have coherent and effective powers, financial resources and experience? In particular, can they support the urban dynamics that are apparent not only in Ile-de-France but in many provincial territories? Can they help better-endowed rural territories to undertake competitive development projects? These are the questions facing public officials who, since the early 1980s, have seen profound changes in terms of decentralisation and in the relations between levels of government...
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