Redistribution Under Macron–Updated Figures from the IPP

Arthur Goldhammer
24 January 2019

The IPP has released a new report on the cumulative effect of Macron’s budgets since taking office (h/t Ashoka Mody). Here is the executive summary:

Cette note étudie les réformes des impôts et transferts portant sur les ménages qui ont été introduites par le budget 2019, en incluant les mesures les plus récentes annoncées à la suite du mouvement des « gilets jaunes ». Les résultats indiquent un gain moyen proche de 1 % du revenu disponible pour une large partie des ménages, principalement les bénéficiaires de la prime d’activité et les ménages concernés par la baisse de la taxe d’habitation. Nous analysons également les effets des réformes menées depuis le début du quinquennat, c’est-à-dire les effets cumulés des budgets 2018 et 2019. Les gains moyens sur l’ensemble de la population sont qualitativement similaires, mais masquent une forte hétérogénéité. Les actifs sont en moyenne gagnants, quel que soit le centile de niveau de vie (+ 2,4 % de revenu disponible en moyenne). Les retraités appartenant aux 20 % des ménages les plus aisés sont mis à contribution, avec une perte moyenne de 3 % de leur revenu disponible. Les 1 % des ménages les plus aisés, quel que soit leur statut d’activité, voient leur revenu disponible augmenter en moyenne de 6,4 % du fait du remplacement de l’impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (ISF) par l’impôt sur la fortune immobilière (IFI). Les dispositions initiales, proposées par le gouvernement en septembre 2018, ont été largement amendées par les mesures d’urgence économiques et sociales. Celles-ci jouent un rôle important dans les effets redistributifs finaux. L’ensemble des catégories de revenu bénéficient de ces nouvelles mesures, avec un effet moyen de 0,8 % du revenu disponible. Ces effets sont plus importants entre le 15e et le 49e centile de niveau de vie, avec un gain moyen de 1,2 %.

Like the previous IPP report, this gives the lie to the contention that Macron is “the president of the rich.” Yes, the very well-remunerated (top 1%) are the handsomest beneficiaries of his policies. But there are also gains in purchasing power for the broad middle and lower class (10th to 80th percentile), as the graph below shows:

Perhaps le Grand Débat National will make these facts more widely known.

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10 Comments

  • Well, one has to take into account that the +6% for the top percentile is from a very large starting base. If this graph was made in terms of euros, we would have an even more towering bar at the very right of the graph.

  • Geof says:

    Unfortunately, Macron has to battle the decades-old malaise of citizens caring more about what their neighbor makes than about what they make. This (report) is a “rising tide lifts all boats” report. The French however have been steeped in the politics of envy for so long, it’s hard to believe Macron will be able to get them to focus on their finances. Especially with a cacophony of political voices, from both right and left, ready to reassure them that there’s nothing untoward about that envy.

  • Richard Lachmann says:

    The real result is that like with the Reagan, W Bush and Trump tax cuts, the rich get a lot of money, the middle class gets chump change, and the state’s ability to provide social benefits and services is undermined.

  • John says:

    The political coalition consisting of the lower middle class and the elite of the elite is the classic reactionary right wing coalition

  • John says:

    If this group are indeed the intended beneficiaries, I think the political science oriented commentator class and boosters of Macronisme that Mr Goldhammer represents should own up and admit they are fascists in denial, instead of trying to dissociate outcomes of this kind of politics, claiming ownership of the good for themselves, and projecting the bad onto the likes of Le Pen

  • aaron says:

    So he’s the friend to the extremely rich and enemy of the poor meat and most vulnerable. It’s completely indefensible.

  • Anonymous says:

    The reactions demonstrate the degree to which pre-conceived notions will hold, facts to the controversy. I must leap to Art Goldhammer’s defense: Art Goldhammer –with whom I frequently disagree– is neither a member of the political science commentator class, nor boosters of Macron. It is a measure of the stubborness of “idees fixes” that those commenting above can neither express themselves clearly nor take the time to poof read their statements.

  • bernard says:

    I concur with anonymous above. Art clearly did like Macron, not least when he faced that fascist woman, how could he not? He was clearly disappointed in recent times by Macron’s way of government, and so were a lot of us. So I would have to say he is a relatively fair observer, and there are not that many around. Plus he’s witty, which is great.

    The IPP study does demonstrate scientifically, using the exact tools I would recommend as a professional economist, that the perceptions a lot of us had, namely that most of the lower middle class, had lost out from his reforms, was simply wrong. The only criticism that was correct was that the super rich – Piketty’s 1% – had benefited enormously.

    Thus the only real issue will be to demonstrate that suppressing the ISF into the IFI did lead to a significant increase in investment. The evidence so far has been scant and not particularly encouraging. Politicians, for reasons I never could understand, always play down the activity motive for investment in favor of the profit motive, when all scientific evidence points – not just in France – to the accelerator being the strongest influencer of investment.

    In short, the reality of the facts broadly supports Macron except, likely, where the ISF is concerned. But how about the perception of the facts?…The gilets jaunes are all about perception.

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