Ben Clift
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The political economy of French social democratic economic policy autonomy, 1997–2002
Credibility, dirigisme and globalisation

This chapter explores the successes and failures of the Lionel Jospin era (1997-2002), and interrogates its implications for the analysis of social democracy more broadly, and its compatibility (or otherwise) with globalisation, and deregulated financial markets. It charts how the credibility built after the 1983 U-turn through firstly competitive disinflation and subsequently the 'ordo-liberal' foundations of EMU generated policy space exploited by the Jospin Government. The stability and growth pact (SGP), the budgetary policy rules limiting deficit and debt levels for euro members, had secured credibility for France and other European members. The chapter then assesses enduring volontarisme in French Socialist economic and social policy-making, analysing the employment and redistribution oriented economic policies central to the 1997-2002 period. Finally, it explores successful attempts at institutional re-engineering of the EMU architecture, notably expanding scope for dirigiste fiscal policy, and rearticulating dirigiste policy approaches at the supranational level.

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In search of social democracy

Responses to crisis and modernisation


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