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General Policy Speech of Prime Ministers and Fiscal Choices in France: “Preach Water and Drink Wine”

Abstract : Since the inception of the Fifth French Republic, the Prime Minister pronounces an expected inauguration address of general policy in which main public policies are announced. Usually a h ierarchical priority of policies is raised from this a ddress. As a consequence the government aims at allocating budgets in accordance with such a ranki ng. Nevertheless public budgeting processes are regularly faced with in crementalism, which causes huge pro- blems when some unexpected problems ari se. Furthermore, during the elec- toral cycle, governments face a para doxical problem: once elected they are supposed to transform their electoral promises into public policies but at the same time they are forced to propose a new electoral platform for being re-elected. All along the Fifth Republic in 1958, France has experienced 17 governments and then 17 addresses of general policy. The regular shift of majority since the beginning of the 1980s outlines the (in)capacity of incumbent governments to satisfy a majority of voters. In this perspective, this chapter aims at testing whether priorities of governmental action are matched with the ranking of budgetary allocations. For that, we propose to analyze all the 17 addresses of Prime Ministers with a data text mining technology in order to construct a dependant hierarchical variable. Thus we use budget series, economic, and political data as independent variables to estimate the shift of annual budget according to both the governmental priority and the time distance between the date of the Prime Minister’s inauguration address and observed annual budget law. From a political economy perspective, this chapter tackles the ambiguous relationship between political address of French Prime Ministers and the bud- geting response of their government. Using an original statistical database (47 years), we plan to better understand the relevance of public policy as it is implemented and not necessarily as the public address should target it
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Martial Foucault, Abel François. General Policy Speech of Prime Ministers and Fiscal Choices in France: “Preach Water and Drink Wine”. Louis Imbeau. Do they Walk like they Talk? Speech and Action in Policy Processes, Springer, pp.131 - 154, 2009, 9780387896724. ⟨hal-03473721⟩

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