The French politics of retrenchment (2007–2012) : Institutions and blame avoidance strategies
La politique d’ajustement budgétaire en France (2007-2012). Institutions et stratégies d’évitement du blâme
International Review of Administrative Sciences
GB : SAGE Publications
523 - 547 p.
Blame avoidance, Fiscal adjustment, Fiscal policy instruments, France, Retrenchment, Semi-presidential regime
While the semi-presidential French regime and the reinforcement of ‘presidentialization’ under Nicolas Sarkozy have often been associated with the idea of disruptive and heroic changes, France’s post-crisis budgetary policy appeared strongly embedded in the previous commitments made by President Sarkozy and relied largely on measures of a gradual and low-profile nature without significant U-turns. In order to explain this result, the article emphasizes the effects of French institutions on government capabilities and on the potential allocation of blame and the related political strategies connected with the electoral cycle and timing. In addition, it also explores the specific characteristics of the French national crisis and its perceptions by top bureaucrats, as well as the nature of the external macro-constraints that influenced French budgetary policy, whether originating with markets, international organizations or the European Union.