Mathieu Plane and Francesco Saraceno

Published On


Page Range

pp. 35–50


  • English

Print Length

16 pages

2. Financing Public Investment in France

The chapter first deals with the historical evolution of public investment and capital in France. While still high in comparison with other EU countries, it was significantly reduced since the early 1990s. A reversal of the trend, prior to COVID-19, was mostly due to local governments. After COVID-19, a rebound was followed by flat growth; investment in 2023 is barely at 2019 levels. The result of these trends is a significant drop in net public wealth (mostly of the central government) since 2008. Funding exhibits a growing diversity. Investment spending is increasingly characterised by co-financing involving multiple actors, reducing the central-government share. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the sustainability of France’s public finances. The critical gap (g-r) remains positive for France even in the current environment of high inflation and increasing interest rates. We conclude, with some caution, that there is no real cause for concern regarding sustainability.


Mathieu Plane

Deputy Director of the Analysis and Forecasting Department at the OFCE Research Center in Economics at Sciences Po, Paris

Mathieu Plane is a Deputy Director of the Analysis and Forecasting Department at the OFCE Research Center in Economics, Sciences Po (Paris). He is in charge of economic forecasts for the French economy and works on economic policy issues. He teaches at Sciences Po, Paris and at the University of Paris Pantheon-Sorbonne. He was, in 2013–14, economic advisor to the Ministers of Economy, Industry, and the Digital Sector. He has recently published, in collaboration with other authors of OFCE, an analysis of fiscal measures and purchasing power in France in 2022 and 2023; Under the Threat of Unemployment: Economic Outlook for the French Economy 2023–2024, and French Economy 2024 by Éditions La Découverte, Repères collection.

Francesco Saraceno

Deputy Department Director at OFCE, the Research Centre in Economics at Sciences Po, Paris

Francesco Saraceno is Deputy Department Director at OFCE, the research centre in economics at Sciences Po in Paris. He holds PhDs in Economics from Columbia University and the Sapienza University of Rome. His research focuses on the relationship between inequality, macroeconomic performance, and European macroeconomic policies. From 2000 to 2002, he was a member of the Council of Economic Advisors for the Italian Prime Minister’s Office. He teaches international and European macroeconomics at Sciences Po, where he manages the Economics concentration of the Master’s in European Affairs, and at Luiss in Rome. He is Academic Director of the Sciences Po-Northwestern European Affairs Program. He advises the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on macroeconomic policies for employment and participates in IMF training programmes on fiscal policy.