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The Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-Being, France, 1989 and 2000

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  • Thomas Masterson
  • Ajit Zacharias
  • Selcuk Eren
  • Edward Wolff

Abstract

We construct estimates of the Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-Being for France for the years 1989 and 2000. We also estimate the standard measure of disposable cash income (DI) from the same data sources. We analyze overall trends in the level and distribution of household well-being using both measures for France as a whole and for subgroups of the French population. The average French household experienced a slower rate of growth in LIMEW than DI over the period. A substantial portion of the growth in well-being for the middle quintile was a result of increases in net government expenditures and income from wealth. We also found that the well-being of families headed by single females relative to married couples deteriorated much more, while the well-being of households headed by the elderly relative to households headed by the nonelderly improved much more than indicated by the standard measure of disposable income. The conventional measure indicates that a steep decline in economic inequality took place between 1989 and 2000, while our measure indicates no such change. We argue that these outcomes can be traced to the difference in the treatment of the role of wealth in shaping economic inequality. Our measure also indicates that, on balance, government expenditures and taxes did not have an inequality-reducing effect in France for both years. This is, again, contrary to conventional wisdom.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_679.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_679

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Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org

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Keywords: Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-being (LIMEW); France; Economic Well-Being; Economic Inequality; Household Income Measures;

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  1. Simon Kuznets & Lillian Epstein & Elizabeth Jenks, 1946. "National Income and Its Composition, 1919-1938, Volume II," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn41-3, July.
  2. Edward N. Wolff & Ajit Zacharias, 2006. "Household Wealth and the Measurement of Economic Well-Being in the United States," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_447, Levy Economics Institute.
  3. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00268929 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Edward N. Wolff & Ajit Zacharias, 2007. "The Distributional Consequences Of Government Spending And Taxation In The U.S., 1989 And 2000," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(4), pages 692-715, December.
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