Evolution of French Social State Model

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DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2015-5-29-40

Trofimova O., Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (olgatrofimova53@mail.ru).

Acknowledgements. The article has been supported by a grant of the Russian Humanitarian Scientific Foundation. Project no. 14-07-00048 “Transformation of Concept and Practices of Social State in EU Countries”.


Abstract. The configuration of French welfare state is determined by a mix of factors. Historically, the nation’s social insurance system is based on the principles of solidarity, social protection, collective efforts and government’s responsibility. To a large extent this explains its paternalistic features. The French social model has a complex institutional structure and consists of different insurance schemes which are highly segmented according to the professions and industries, to belonging to the private or public sectors. The article deals with the theoretical framework, specifics of the development and modernization of French social model, its adaptation to the most recent economic changes triggered by the processes of globalization and European integration. The French welfare state’s transformations are necessitated by domestic and external economic, social and political challenges. The financing of the system is largely based on Bismarkian principle, namely, the bulk of social contributions are traditionally assumed by the firms along with the workers themselves. But it is mixed with a dose of Beveridgian society with its wide solidarity via general taxation. The author focuses on the welfare policy and legislation framework according to its model and type of regime. The analysis of the reform’s process reveals the specifics of the weaknesses of French model which still faces contradictions between dirigist and market approaches in resolving social problems, between the aims of economic effectiveness and social protection. Successive reforms of the social protection system towards reductions of state social expenditures and privatization of pensions will help France to recalibrate its welfare model in accordance with a new logic at the European level and its mainstream in social policy.

Keywords: France, social policy, welfare state, social insurance, pension system, labor legislation, reforms, globalization, European integration


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For citation:
Trofimova O. Evolution of French Social State Model. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2015, no. 5, pp. 29-40. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2015-5-29-40



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