Modern State, Effective State Publication date : October 27, 2011
Etienne Wasmer is an economist specialising in labour economics. The winner of the 2006 Best Young Economist Prize in France, he teaches economics at the Institut de Sciences Politiques, where he also directs doctoral studies in economics. He is the author of Principes de microéconomie (Pearson), which was awarded the AFSE Prize (Association Française de Sciences Economiques).
Marc Ferracci is an economist, a senior lecturer at the University of Paris-Est-Marne-la-Vallée and a research fellow at the Centre de Recherches en Economie et Statistiques (CREST). He specialises in labour economics and continuing education.
How can public spending be rendered more effective? How to make better use of taxpayers’ money? By evaluating government spending, say the authors. But in France, evaluation remains taboo, with the result that no one is capable of measuring the efficacy of public spending policies. The authors show how other democratic states, unlike France, have developed systems of public evaluation and accountability.
They define the criteria that a system of evaluation must follow in order to be impartial as well as effective: it must above all stay focused on the actual impact of each measure undertaken. And they show how to support an environment that favours evaluation: by adhering to the principle of the reversibility of every measure, by enhancing the political stature of those who terminate such measures.
• By questioning public spending in France today, this book also questions the government’s current reform to control expenditure.
• Evaluation is highly polemical in France, and many of the examples given here will be ardently debated.