Social security contributions, earmarked taxes and wage-earner savings in the financing of social protection: a comparison of the British and French systems

  • Bernard Friot


Traditional comparisons between the French and British social protection systems have typically been based on an erroneous perspective where the United Kingdom is concerned. Since the typologies proposed focus solely on the annual flow of resources, from the point of view of their financing and use, they fail to take into account what lies at the heart of the British system, that is the stock of capital accumulated through the advance funding of employer-provided schemes, such as pension funds. This error characterises not only the most popular comparison (Bismarck vs. Beveridge), but also more elaborate typologies such as those developed by Flora (productivist-bureaucratic vs. universal redistributive), or by Esping-Anderson (conservative-corporatist vs. liberal); the error is also overlooked in the excellent critical review of these typologies by Théret (1996). This erroneous perspective allows authors such as Flora to focus on National Insurance, which is merely one component of social protection in the UK (and a secondary one at that), and then to describe the British system as ‘minimum universalistic’. It also allows a false symmetry to be drawn between the British and French systems, in which the French system is labelled ‘occupational’ as opposed to ‘universal’, a definition that ignores the national, non-branch-specific nature of the French schemes, which are financed through mechanisms for pooling risk among employers. This is why we have preferred to set aside the traditional typologies here and to describe the British system as financial-redistributive or, more simply, financial, and the French system as wage-based.


Pension Fund Wage Earner Wage Labour Social Security Contribution State Assistance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alcock, P. (1996) ‘Avantages et inconvénients de la base de cotisation pour déterminer les prestations: une analyse sociale du système d’assurance au Royaume-Uni’, Revue internationale de sécurité sociale, 1, 33–54.Google Scholar
  2. CSERC (1996) L’allègement des charges sur les bas salaires, Rapport au premier Ministre du Conseil supérieur de l’emploi, des revenus et des coûts, Paris: La Documentation française.Google Scholar
  3. Ewald, F. (1986) L’Etat-providence, Paris: Grasset.Google Scholar
  4. Farnetti, R. (1995) Le Royaume désuni, Paris: Syros.Google Scholar
  5. Farnetti, R. (1996) ‘Le rôle des fonds de pension et d’investissement collectifs anglo-saxons dans l’essor de la finance globalisée’, in F. Chesnais (ed.), La mondialisation financière: genèse, coût et enjeux, Paris: Syros.Google Scholar
  6. Fraser, D. (1984) The Evolution of the British Welfare State: a History of Social Policy since the Industrial Revolution, 2nd ed., London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  7. Hatzfeld, H. (1989) Du paupérisme à la Sécurité sociale: essai sur les origines de la Sécurité sociale en France, Nancy: Presses Universitaires de Nancy (1st ed. 1971, Paris: Armand Colin).Google Scholar
  8. Lynes, T. (1995) ‘Le système anglais de protection sociale’, Futuribles, October–November, 92-104, Paris.Google Scholar
  9. Reynaud, E. (1992) ‘Le système de retraite au Royaume Uni’, in L. apRoberts and E. Reynaud (eds), Les systèmes de retraite à l’étranger, Paris: IRES, 235–340.Google Scholar
  10. Reynaud, E., L. apRoberts et al. (eds) (1996) International Perspectives on Supplementary Pensions: actors and issues. Westpoint, Conn, and London: Quorum Books.Google Scholar
  11. Théret, B. (1996) ‘Les systèmes nationaux de protection sociale en perspective comparative: de l’analyse des institutions à une analyse structurale’, Comparer les systèmes de protection sociale en Europe, vol. 2: rencontres de Berlin, Paris: MIRE.Google Scholar
  12. Vinokur, A. (1996) Protection sociale fiscalisée et accumulation: la loi des pauvres en Angleterre aux 18° et 19° siècles, Paris X, CERED/FORUM CNRS.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Friot

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations