French Administrative System
Dr. Upul Abeyrathne,
Dept.of Economics,
University of Ruhuna,
• The politics of public administration is one of the
salient issue in the political debate.
• Public administration in France does not raise the
question of accountability alone the lines of
Weberian assumption as a threat to democratic
governance. The concept of state is embedded in
the national political culture.
• Public administration was thought of as a means
of achieving effectiveness as well as democratic
values through social modernization and
organizational experiments.
Public Administration and Social
• Public administration is at the heart of
political system due to its economic weight
and its role in national polity building since
Third Republic.
• It has worked as an agent of state power in a
long divided nation.
• Civil service has depended the state as an
impartial and legalistic body against particular
and conflictual interest.
Main Features of Civil Service
• The emphasis on the role of the grands corps in
concentraiting technical expertise. This has connected civil
servants with top level policy making, social reforms and
economic development.
• Highly mobile members of Grand Corps(Council d’Etat,
Courdes Comptes (Accounting), Inspection Generale des
Finances) have controlled the strengthening and uniformity
of administrative law.
• The role of civil service has proved crucial in modernizing
economic structures after the Second World War.
• They worked as think tank and social surrogate for political
elite who have been severely criticized for their inefficiency.
• Public administration has assumed a key role
in upward social mobilization. From the time
of Third Republic, public administration was
regarded a good investment for the poor who
are hardworking and young.
• The introduction of career system in late 19th
century allowed professional merit to gain
official recognition.
• It is a representative bureaucracy
• It is the biggest employee
• The administrative law and courts
Public Administration
• Civil servants are overwhelmingly present at the
centre of the state.
• 40% of yearly current expenditure is on salaries
for public servants. There is a steady increase in
the number of civil servants(It rise by 1 million
during 1970-80 and reached to 4 million in 1981).
This is because socialist party assumed an active
role in economy to combat unemployment and
implement policies in areas of priority sectors
such as education and culture.
• Government embraced the Keynesianism upto 1983.
• Public Administration was transformed into a Political
Problem in 1988 Presidential Election.
• Left-Right dichotomy vanished on many issues.
Management and administration gained new interests.
• However, it should be noted that cost-cutting was not
an objective of managerial reform movement in
France. Emphasis was shifted from social
modernization to effective implementation of
government decisions.

French Administrative System