“Dirigisme” Concept And Macron’s Reform Agenda

The dirigisme concept in French comes from the government having a vital and direct role in the market economy and not merely acting as a regulatory tool. French dirigisme has various elements, such as industries lacking autonomy over their operations due to government influence (Ansaloni & Smith, 2018). Market instruments such as subsidies and taxes are another element of French dirigisme through which the economic objectives of the state are met. This is an effort to keep the industries competitive against foreign parties. The French government also nationalizes critical sectors of the economy, such as the banking sector, as part of the dirigisme concept leading to the state owning several key banks (Ansaloni & Smith, 2018). The government may also forcefully rationalize or merge companies to meet specified market targets.

Macron’s reform agenda proposes various changes, such as offering incentives to people working beyond the stipulated retirement age and bringing full employment (Report, 2022). Other aspects of the plan involve the reduction of unemployment benefits for high earners and reducing taxes (RNZ). Forming a coalition government to bring about inclusivity and competitiveness in France is another aspect of the president’s reform agenda.

The statism, characteristic of dirigisme, will be challenged under President Macron’s reformist agenda because lowering taxes will increase the establishment of private industries that are not under state influence. The formation of a coalition government will also challenge essential dirigisme concepts due to the inclusion of conflicting opinions in government.

In conclusion, dirigisme, the practice of increased statism and which has been a practice in French industrial environments, is seen to be under increased threat due to Macron’s reforms.


Ansaloni, M., & Smith, A. (2018). The neo-dirigiste production of French capitalism since 1980: The view from three major industries. French Politics, 16(2), 154–178.

Report, M. (2022). France’s President Emmanuel Macron decides to go it alone. The Economist.

RNZ (2019). Emmanuel Macron plans to reform France’s pension benefits (Video). YouTube.