Since the early 1990s, when France's general government deficit reached a disturbing 6 per cent of GDP, the country's public finances have progressed substantially, even though significantly further improvement is required. This paper examines the tools available to policy-makers to meet this challenge. The clearest message is that, given the relatively small size of the State Budget in total spending, the challenge cannot be met by the State sector alone. Social security, as the principal source of spending pressure, must play a role, but so too must sub-national government -- especially if current plans to transfer additional responsibilities to the local level go through. If policy-makers are to succeed in directing public expenditure so as to create this room, they will have to clarify governance structures so that those who administer programmes face appropriate incentives to control costs and maximise programme efficiency ...
public expenditure, general government, budgetary transparency, multi-year budgeting, programme evaluation
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