Delegate Name: Ella Duffner
United Nations Development Programme
France looks to decrease income inequality within the country, as well as between countries. Historically, France has also been fairly good about income inequality. The French revolution was started because of a huge gap in income between the extremely rich and the majority poor. As of the past century, income equality has been leaning toward a positive trend, with more improvement in the past ten-twenty years.
Throughout the entirety of the 1800s, the top 10% held about 80% of the total wealth. Starting in the 1900s, the upper class gradually held less and the middle and lower classes began to hold more. Starting in 1940, the middle 40% of French civilians rose to earn around 45% of the total income, a trend which continued through 2014. During these years, there has been a rise in inequality from 1967-68, then a fall from 1968 to 1983. In even more recent times, the income inequality ratio dropped even lower, before spiking again in 2021. Because of the First World War, there was a reduction in income inequality, due to political shocks. In the 1980s the gap grew again as the highest salaries got higher and wealth became more concentrated. The disparity between men’s and women’s income has grown smaller since 1970, although still fairly significant. In 2018, France had a Gini coefficient of 32.4. With the range being 0-100, a 32.4 is fairly good. As of January 2021, France was below the European median for income inequality, as well as below that of its neighbors Spain, Italy, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
France is actively working to reduce income inequality further through redistribution, in the form of both social benefits and taxes. France is on a trend to see income inequality go down, but more could still be done. Within its own country, things such as improving education as well as the unemployment rate in youth (20.2% ages 15-24). Better education and employment lead to lower income inequality as it creates more job opportunities. The UN has Goal 10: reducing inequalities. France is a part of the UN since its founding and a permanent member of the security council, and therefore a part of achieving this goal. Proposal 10 has several parts, starting with 10.1, “progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population at a rate higher than the national average”. This will help to decrease not just income inequality but overall inequality worldwide.
France agrees with the points of proposal ten and will help to achieve them, reducing inequalities worldwide. As a country doing very well in terms of income inequality and overall economy, with an unemployment rate of 8.12 in 2019 and a workforce of 27.742 million as of 2020, it can afford to turn its resources to help other countries with the issue of decreasing income inequality. France believes this can be done through better education and decreasing inequalities such as sexism and racism that lead to an income gap for groups affected.