From Long-Term Savings to Pension Savings

Special Report: Putting the Economy in Order
Financialization of Pay-As-You-Go Pension Systems or Using a Financial Instrument in Social Policy? (France, 1993–2013)
By Mickaël Ciccotelli


In France, the distributive pensions’ reform, driven since twenty years, has led to a diminution of the pensions’ generosity. In parallel, the tax allowances have increased to promote the development of long-term savings, supposed to “complete” the distributive pensions. The institutionalization of these “pension savings” for the private sector employees has taken place since the middle of the 1990’s, mainly during the debates and the votes of the Thomas’ (1993-1997) and Fillon’s (2003) laws. These laws were promoted by bureaucratic, political and economical entrepreneurs of the long-term savings, who did not come from the social policy sector and who wanted to privatize the distributive pension systems in order to develop the French financial sector. Their success can be explained by their ability to politicize the long-term savings as pension savings and then to find non-financial agents who took the political responsibility to implement it. Created in and for the financial sector, where the distributive pension systems are not an issue, the pension saving systems have become a tool of the social policy, that progressively modifies the running of the French employees’ pension system.
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