The Impact of Policy Retrenchment in Europe
Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead
Chapter 5: France: The public service under pressure
In France, the crisis that started in 2008 erupted in a context in which significant reforms had been introduced recently, affecting both the size and the organization of the public service, which plays a crucial role in France as it employs about one-fifth of the total workforce. This raises a methodological issue, as it may become difficult to disentangle, in the changes undergone by the public sector, what is due to reforms introduced before the crisis and what results directly from measures induced by the crisis. France is a good example of a mix of structural reforms and quantitative adjustments in the public service which raises the issue of how they are combined or when and where they may reveal inconsistencies. The issue is complex because if some structural changes result directly from policies intended to reform the public sector, others may also be induced by the quantitative adjustments themselves, such as job cuts, for instance, which may impact on public service organization and delivery.
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