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  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: France has high productivity per hour worked and a sophisticated social welfare system, but it also suffers from low labour force participation and high structural un employment. This poor labour market performance contributes to a persistent budget deficit which is exacerbating, rather than alleviating, the fiscal pressures arising from ageing. Rising public debt threatens fiscal sustainability. It is partly a result of insufficient public expenditure control an d insufficient public understanding of the need to meet long-run challenges as well as short-term targets. Aspects of the labour code designed to protect employees, and some aspects of the system of social transfers have had some unintended but perverse consequences leading to structurally high levels of unemployment and low participation rates. Dynamism and growth of activity and employment are held back by a lack of competition in a large number of service sectors.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, France
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The textile and clothing industries provide employment for tens of million of people, primarily in developing countries, and accounted for USD 350 billion in merchandise exports in 2002, or 5.6% of the world total. The current rules governing world trade in textiles and clothing will change drastically at the end of 2004, when countries will no longer be able to protect their own industries by means of quantitative restrictions on imports of textile and clothing products. What will this mean for cotton growers in Burkina Faso and Turkey, fashion retailers in France and the United States, or shirt factories in Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic or China?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, United States, China, Turkey, France
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: In many respects, France fares well among OECD countries in terms of indicators of the health status of its population and resources allocated to its health care system. The French population (and particularly French women) enjoys a relatively high life expectancy compared with the average across OECD countries. The French have a free choice of doctor, and can approach relatively easily both generalists and specialists. Also, the French health system has not generally experienced the problems of long waiting lists for certain treatments, as has been the case in several other OECD countries. The health care system in France is predominantly funded through public sources, but with services delivered by both the public and private sector. Universal access is provided to doctors and hospital services, with some co-payments for patients which vary depending on the type of services. Since the introduction of the Universal Health Coverage Law (Loi de la Couverture m├ędicale universelle or CMU) in 2000, people with low income who are not covered by complementary insurance have access to doctors and hospitals free of charge. Overall, public satisfaction with the health care system in France has traditionally been much higher than in most other countries. However, health spending in France is relatively high in comparison with the OECD average.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: France
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: After several years of rapid expansion, the French economy has entered into a period of below potential growth, with a negative output gap opening up. Monetary conditions have been relaxed, while fiscal policy has eased excessively, provoking the European Commission to initiate an excessive deficit procedure. As uncertainty dissipates towards the middle of this year, the economy should pick up speed, reaching a growth rhythm of around 2 per cent in 2004. Nevertheless, over the medium term, in the absence of substantial reforms the ageing of the population risks threatening economic and fiscal equilibrium. Current pension and healthcare reform initiatives and plans to redress spending over the medium term go in the right direction. However, in order to ensure medium and long-term fiscal sustainability, additional policies to slow the expansion of health and pension spending are required, while efforts to raise employment rates and potential output are needed to improve the economy's ability to finance future ageing-related expenditure. Here, programmes that offer the possibility of on-the-job training should be expanded so as to reactivate young and lowskilled workers, while reforms to early-retirement schemes and the pension system need to be continued so as to restore work incentives for older workers. Ongoing tax and labour market reforms and policies to facilitate the development of high-tech and fast growing enterprises, which should help promote investment and higher productivity growth, also need to be pursued. The opening of the capital of stateowned enterprises and their eventual privatisation, and planned improvements to governance structures should help promote growth, but revenues from sell-offs ought to be used to reduce debt. Finally, in order to better manage the totality of public expenditures, the authorities need to implement reforms that can be used to ensure that all spending organisms contribute to controlling spending. Here, it will be necessary to implement mechanisms that would improve the effectiveness of measures to control healthcare spending. Moreover, decision-makers need to be more directly confronted with the long-term consequences of their actions. Initiatives such as decentralisation and the new budget framework law should help in this regard. Pursuit of reforms along all of these lines should permit society to meet the fiscal challenge posed by population ageing, while retaining high levels of service.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, France