Changes in France’s income distribution resulting from the Socialist income redistribution economic programs enacted between 1981-82

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Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Margaret Lewis, Economics


In 1981, France elected their first socialist president, Francois Mitterrand. During his first year in office, President Mitterrand and his socialist government implemented a number of policies designed to redistribute income and reduce unemployment in France. This thesis examines the overall effect of these policies on the income distribution between low-income earners and wealthy individuals. The effectiveness of the redistribution and employment policies are measured by examining the changes in income distribution between the rich and the poor both before (1979) and after (1984) the enactment of Mitterrand’s programs. The empirical testing used in this thesis utilizes Lorenz curves and Gini coefficients to measure the changes in income distribution. These statistics indicate that France’s income distribution was more equal in 1984 than in 1979, which suggest that Mitterrand’s policies did achieve their desired redistributive goals.