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Pourquoi les ménages pauvres paient-ils des loyers de plus en plus élevés ? [L’incidence des aides au logement en France (1973-2002)]

  • Gabrielle Fack

[eng] Why are low-income households paying increasingly high rents ? The effect of housing benefit in France (1973-2002) Since the late 1970s, means-based rent assistance has become the main housing policy instrument to the detriment of building subsidies, whose efficiency was brought into question by the 1977 reform. Meansbased rent assistance theoretically improves the targeting of populations for whom housing, which remains the number one household consumption item, is deemed to represent too much of a financial burden. Yet the development of this assistance has gone hand in hand with an increase in the cost of housing for the most disadvantaged tenant households. We seek to evaluate the impact of this on the increase in rents for low-income households. The early-1990s reform of the extension of assistance constitutes a natural experiment whereby the effects of housing benefits can be isolated, since it was applied solely to certain types of households and not others. The growth in the rents paid by the low-income households targeted by the reform can hence be compared with that of the households not affected, and the effects of the reform for the households concerned can be identified. We use data from the INSEE Housing surveys to show that the assistance could well have a lot to do with the increase in rents per square metre for low-income households. The estimates obtained show that 50% to 80% of the housing benefit received by these households has been absorbed by increases in their rents. Although these benefits may have given rise to some improvement in dwelling standards, this effect appears to be far too minor to explain the rise in rents, at least on the basis of the measurements able to be made from the Housing surveys. The increase in tenant demand generated by the assistance seems to have come up against an exceedingly inelastic housing supply from landlords, hence triggering a sharp increase in rents. This effect may have been compounded by the massive influx of students onto the housing market following the reform of this assistance. [fre] Pourquoi les ménages à bas revenus paient-ils des loyers de plus en plus élevés? L’incidence des aides au logement en France (1973-2002) Depuis la fin des années 1970, les aides directes à la personne sont devenues l’instrument majeur de la politique du logement au détriment des aides à la pierre, dont l’efficacité avait été remise en cause lors de la réforme de 1977. Les aides à la personne permettent, en théorie, de mieux cibler les populations pour qui le logement, qui demeure le premier poste de consommation des ménages, représente une charge jugée trop importante. Or le développement de ces aides s’est accompagné d’une augmentation du coût du logement pour les ménages locataires les plus défavorisés. L’objet de cette étude est d’évaluer leur impact sur l’augmentation des loyers des ménages à bas revenus. La réforme de l’extension des aides du début des années 1990 constitue une expérience naturelle qui permet d’isoler les effets des allocations logement, car elle s’est appliquée seulement à certains types de ménages et non à d’autres. On peut ainsi comparer l’évolution des loyers des ménages à bas revenus bénéficiaires de la réforme à celle des ménages qui n’ont pas été touchés et identifier les effets de la réforme pour les ménages concernés. À partir de données des enquêtes Logement de l’Insee, on montre que les aides pourraient bien être, pour une bonne partie, responsables de la hausse du loyer au mètre carré des ménages à bas revenus. D’après les estimations obtenues, entre 50 % et 80 % des allocations logement perçues par ces ménages auraient été absorbées par les augmentations de leurs loyers. Si ces allocations ont pu entraîner une certaine amélioration du confort de l’habitat, cet effet semble bien trop faible pour suffire à expliquer la hausse des loyers, du moins à partir des mesures possibles d’après les enquêtes Logement. La hausse de la demande des locataires provoquée par les aides semble s’être heurtée à une offre de logement trop inélastique de la part des bailleurs, entraînant ainsi une forte hausse des loyers. Cet effet a pu être renforcé par l’arrivée massive des étudiants sur le marché du logement à la suite de la réforme de ces aides.

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Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Economie et statistique.

Volume (Year): 381 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 17-40

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Handle: RePEc:prs:ecstat:estat_0336-1454_2005_num_381_1_7207
Note: DOI:10.3406/estat.2005.7207
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