Doctoral thesis (Dissertations and theses)
Des régions qui comptent. La reconfiguration néolibérale de la Belgique fédérale saisie par les finances publiques
Piron, Damien


Full Text
20180702_Thèse PIRON.pdf
Author preprint (3.61 MB)
Request a copy
Full Text Parts
20180702_Thèse PIRON_Pour Orbi.pdf
Author postprint (628.83 kB)

All documents in ORBi are protected by a user license.

Send to


Keywords :
Finances publiques; Régions; Belgique; Néolibéralisme; Loi spéciale de financement; Système européen des comptes nationaux et régionaux (SEC); Public finance; regions; Belgium; Neoliberalism; Special Finance Act; European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA); Foucault; Gouvernementalité; Governmentality
Abstract :
[en] This PhD studies the process of neoliberalization of Belgium and its regions through the lens of public finance. From a theoretical perspective, it aims to contribute to the development of the emerging sociology of public finance. To do so, it connects existing theories with governmentality studies, mixed with insights from the sociology of accounting, science and technology studies and human geography. In the second part of the thesis, this original theoretical framework is put to the test of five case studies, which relate to two broader programmes of government in the field of public finance: Belgian fiscal federalism (i.e. the distribution of tax and fiscal powers between federal and regional authorities) and European Fiscal Governance (i.e. European quantified indicators imposing debt- and deficit-to-GDP ceilings). Each of this case study tackles a controversial dimension of the complex and changing relationship between regions, the federal authority and the European Union: a long-lasting controversy about the calculation of interregional fiscal flows between Flanders and Wallonia; the reform of the Special Finance Act of Communities and Regions during the sixth state reform (2010-2011); the creation of a European statistical apparatus built around Eurostat in order to permanently monitor national public finance; the competing conventions of equivalence underlying the calculation of the Walloon public debt; and, lastly, the statistical treatment of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). The discussion stresses the fundamental role played by the two programmes of government under study in the diffusion of the so-called neoliberal rationality in Belgium and its regions. In other words, Belgian fiscal federalism and European fiscal governance strongly incentivize, each in their own way, Wallonia and Flanders to pursue policies simultaneously aiming at strengthening fiscal consolidation and fostering competition – be it between public administration and private companies or among (inter)national political authorities. It is shown that one of the main contradictions associated with this process of ‘economization’ of Belgian regions lies in the field of investment policy: does it remain possible to effectively conduct ambitious public investment projects in an ever more decentralized federation committed to fiscal discipline? The ‘solution’ currently implemented to solve this paradox – namely an increased utilization of hybrid investment schemes such as PPPs – de facto reinforces the neoliberal logic of (quasi-)privatization of public service delivery in Belgium.
Research center :
Tax Institute
Disciplines :
Political science, public administration & international relations
Author, co-author :
Piron, Damien  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de science politique > Anal. et éval. des politiques publ.-Méthod. de sc. politique
Language :
Title :
Des régions qui comptent. La reconfiguration néolibérale de la Belgique fédérale saisie par les finances publiques
Alternative titles :
[en] Regions that count – The neoliberalization of federal Belgium through public finance
Defense date :
28 September 2018
Number of pages :
Damien Piron
Institution :
ULiège - Université de Liège
Degree :
Doctorat en sciences politiques et sociales
Promotor :
Fallon, Catherine ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de science politique > Spiral
Bourgeois, Marc  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Cité
President :
Thirion, Nicolas  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Cité
Jury member :
Verschraegen, Gert
Miller, Peter
Lemoine, Benjamin
De Visscher, Christian
Funders :
F.R.S.-FNRS - Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique [BE]
Available on ORBi :
since 22 August 2018


Number of views
1045 (162 by ULiège)
Number of downloads
443 (98 by ULiège)


Similar publications

Contact ORBi