It is a forgotten OECD report. Published in October 2008, he found no echo in our country. Probably because, at that time, the French had the head they were, alarmed, the magnitude of the economic crisis. Probably also because that its conclusions faced a conviction rooted in our collective consciousness. Entitled "Growth and inequality", this report shows that, trolling, the France is champion of the reduction of inequalities. Among the thirty members of the Organization for development cooperation and economic, the France is one of the rare with the Australia, the Greece, the Mexico and the United Kingdom where the gaps in income and poverty rates have decreased over the last twenty years. It was "the country where inequalities are most declined", by Martine Durand, responsible of the Department of Social Affairs of the organization.
This evolution is apprehended through two indicators. One, called "Gini coefficient", is widely used in international comparisons. It measures the dispersion of income. Mid-1980s, he placed the France in the platoon, in less favourable position than the Germany for example. In the mid-2000s, it places in the Group of countries of the OECD. Another indicator is the rate of poverty, adopted by the international organization as the proportion of people living with less than half of the median (the one that divides the population into two equal parts). The poverty rate is decreased in twenty years of more than 8 and 7.
Especially, the France has reduced its income inequality, but it is also very well ranked in the top of the industrialized countries. In the OECD, the richest 10 earn on average, nine times more than the poorest 10. From one country to another, the differences are considerable. Thus, revenues from the decile of Americans more affluent are sixteen times higher than those of the less advantaged decile. The Canada, in Spain, the Japan or the United Kingdom, the rich earn nine to ten times more than the poor. In France, the gap is only one in six, as in the Nordic countries. In his "Portrait social 2008", Insee reaches an identical figure: a report of 6.62 between average living standards of the first and last deciles of population. Monetary poverty is lower in our country in 24 OECD countries.
This unexpected performance in the reduction of inequality is explained, in part, by the underperformance of the other: for twenty years, the gap between rich and poor widened in three quarters of the industrialized countries. But our results are also a reflection of our policies. For Martine Durand (OECD), income inequality decreased in France because of the importance of the minimum wage (more than 60 of the median wage), the number of jobs created (even if are low-skilled) and our generous system of redistribution. This is, however, as a part of the explanation. Because, according to a formula of Martin Hirsch, High Commissioner of the Government, "no country can reduce poverty without a high level of social spending, but a high level of social spending is not sufficient to reduce poverty". In fact, these figures show, that, unlike what happened in most developed countries, economic growth rather more received in France the poorest to the richest.
Of course, the findings of the OECD may be nuanced, at the margin. The arguments in this sense are plenty. The inequalities are not exclusively financial and poverty not only monetary. And in Europe, assesses it rather below 60 percent, not 50 of median income. Some economists prefer to advance income, enormous gaps between the 1 of the richest population and the poorest 1. If it is, by nature, without far-reaching macroeconomic, this observation is of sociological interest. It illustrates, in effect, that the authors of the report, Michael Förster and Marco Mira of Ercole, call the "effect"Gala"": spread in the press, the income of a tiny minority attest, in the eyes of the majority, of a great injustice. It is a plausible explanation to patent between measured inequalities and inequalities felt.
The sociologist Julien Damon distinguished him, specifically French component of the offset: the fragility of revenues and the protections offered by access to work, a "collective compassionate lamento", individual frustration with an offer of more abundant consumer, a culture of "social mistrust." Remains an objection: If the fruits of growth were better than they thought, the crisis has recently could reverse the movement. Assessments are missing yet, but if, on the one hand, the explosion of unemployment increases the risk of impoverishment, on the other, heritage revenues collapsed and the France, for example through the "RSA tax", amplifies rather than it does reduce the effort of redistribution.