2007 OECD Economic Surveys: France 2007

image of OECD Economic Surveys: France 2007

With short-term prospects somewhat brighter, and budgetary prospects improved, the OECD Economic Survey of France 2007 looks at some long-term challenges: the performance of policies for education and those for poverty and social exclusion is satisfactory or better in many areas, but cost-effectiveness can be improved and more focus on employment is needed. Policy has begun to prepare for the economic impact of population ageing, but there is no room to relax in seeking to contain fiscal costs and to increase employment among older workers.

English Also available in: French

Assessment and recommendations

French people have rather high expectations of their economy. In many respects it meets these expectations, delivering a high overall standard of living for relatively short working hours. Recently, output has been growing, unemployment has been falling and public finances have improved. Nevertheless, it is taking a certain amount of time for this progress to be reflected in public opinion. Poverty is no more widespread in France than in most advanced European countries, yet the public tend to believe that it is. A feeling of pessimism and insecurity has been sustained by persistently high unemployment, often leading to social exclusion, a problem for which the educational system struggles to find solutions. Demographic ageing, long foreseen but whose consequences have not yet been fully addressed, will soon be having a real impact on labour-force developments and public finances. This Survey concentrates on these linked issues – most of which have been raised in Going for Growth 2007 – of unemployment, ageing, poverty and social exclusion, with which the new government will have to deal. Short-term economic trends are given less attention, though they merit continuing monitoring. Meanwhile, a quiet revolution in the organisation of public finance has delegated a number of important functions – including many related to poverty and social exclusion – to sub-national levels of government. The Survey also looks at the consequences and challenges of this less well known phenomenon, especially as it interacts closely with the efficiency of government intervention in social and labour-market policies.

English Also available in: French

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