New Coalitions in the French Personal and Household Services Sector

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Forehall (University of Glasgow)
Virginie Guiraudon , Sciences Po
Clémence Ledoux , Political science, university of Nantes
Through the development tax breaks, France has created a welfare market in the household service sector. Socio-fiscal policies were adopted incrementally, hidden and slowly until 2005, parallel to direct expenses and with only one limited attempt, in 1997, to reduce them. They resemble Wilson's “client politics” archetype, with diffuse costs and concentrated benefits. They have created new actors, such as a federation of for profit firms providing household services, and have modified the interest and strategies of existing ones, including non profit associations, unions and the federation representing direct employers. The ministries in charge of the sector have also changed, with a growing role for the ministry of finances.

Since 2005, tax breaks policies became more visible, with public announcements of the number of jobs they would create, with the foundation of a dedicated agency responsible for their promotion and evaluation. Since then, new mobilisations have emerged around the evaluation of tax breaks policies, with different expertise produced by interest groups, the Agency (which later closed), the National Court of Audit, the ministry of finances and academics. The paper analyses how new coalitions emerge in this context, and how they try to shape mass publics attitudes and play between the different ministries and levels of government. The paper demonstrates how policy feedbacks function when the policies change from invisibility to visibility.