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Income by Social Background

By Arnaud Lefranc, Nicolas Pistolesi and Alain Trannoy


Do executives children have a head start over manual employees children in terms of standard of living? This question calls for an analysis of the income distributions available to households by the family heads socio-economic group. These income distributions are like lotteries whose yield and risk are estimated based on five Family Budget survey waves from 1979 to 2000. We compare these lotteries to evaluate the extent of inequality of opportunities. The persistence of the inequality of income opportunities observed over the last two decades is due largely to deviations in expected income. Children of non-wage earners, especially farmers children, have better income prospects than before. Overall, the hierarchy of income by social background has changed little, but has narrowed. The findings therefore suggest a reduction in the extent of inequality of opportunities. This change in expected income is broken down between social mobility and income growth per socio-economic group.Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, Stochastic Dominance, France

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