Industrial Policies in France : the Old and the New

décembre 2007

Journal of industry, competition and trade, Volume 7, N°3-4, décembre 2007.

Abstract :

Industrial policy is mainly sector based in France, moulding industrial specialization and often promoting "grand projects." It intended to make use of economies of scale, specifically in technologically sophisticated sectors and has been labelled as High Tech Colbertism. The European unification and the Single Market Programme has to some extent converted European industrial policy to the horizontal approach, banning sectoral activities, promoting framework policies, and a sound macro economic policy. The Lisbon strategy then designed a new agenda for growth which acknowledged a gap in competitiveness relative to the USA. In France new initiatives were launched in the past decade, which to some extent are echoing the French type of industrial policy. Regional cluster programs ("poles de competitivité") were introduced, an industrial innovation agency and a national research agency were founded and the Oseo program promotes small and medium firms. The history, preconditions and chances of the new initiatives are analysed.

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