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The Spread of Vouchers among French Local Government: When Private Companies Reshape the Meaning of a Tool

Abstract : Vouchers are "instruments of public action" (Lascoumes, Le Gales, 2004) with a paradoxical scientific reputation. They have been more widely studied in the English-speaking world than in France, in spite of their widespread use there, particularly within local governments. The reinvention and the transformation of vouchers into a political science object can be dated precisely. Milton Friedman, one of the fathers of the neoliberalism has relaunched the use of vouchers and tried to implement it in the public services, especially in the field of education (Friedman, 1955, 1962). He imagined a deregulated system where parents would be free to choose their children's school using a "school-voucher". He assumed that, as a targeted subsidy provided directly to families, vouchers would enable them to choose the school for their children, whether public of private, provided it follows the minimal standards requirements approved by the federal state. In France, this tool appeared in the 1990s in a politically neoliberal context largely inspired by the Anglo-American model. It then became an ubiquitous tool of public policy in the sense of Lester Salamon (Salamon, 2001), a trade-off dispositive between the stakeholders of public action and, finally, a sustainable institutional innovation.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01651423
Contributor : Arnaud Lacheret <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 7:22:13 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 3:32:44 AM

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Arnaud Lacheret. The Spread of Vouchers among French Local Government: When Private Companies Reshape the Meaning of a Tool. International Review of Public Policy, IPPA, 2020. ⟨hal-01651423v2⟩

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