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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Masterson & Ajit Zacharias & Selcuk Eren & Edward Wolff, 2011. "The Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-Being, France, 1989 and 2000," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_679, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_679
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Edward Wolff & Ajit Zacharias, 2009. "Household wealth and the measurement of economic well-being in the United States," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 7(2), pages 83-115, June.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Gérard Forgeot & Christophe Starzec, 2003. "L'impact redistributif des impôts indirects en France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00268929, HAL.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • P17 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Performance and Prospects

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