OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

France: Promoting economic opportunities and well-being in poor neighbourhoods

Thanks to a highly developed welfare state, poverty is moderate on average in France, but – as in other countries – highly concentrated in some neighbourhoods. Their residents face many social disadvantages, including high unemployment and inactivity, schools with many struggling children, often run-down housing and urban infrastructure, and a lack of local enterprises, services and amenities. The government focuses a wide array of policies on these areas to promote better schooling outcomes, employment and local economic activity. Urban renewal and public housing policies aim explicitly at promoting social mixing, often presented as an anti-ghetto policy. Evidence suggests that targeted investment in transport and housing infrastructure as well as education and training could go a long way to improving economic opportunities and well-being in poor areas. In contrast, special economic zones with tax breaks to attract business to these areas have a mixed track record at best. Greater social mixing is difficult to engineer, and it is far from clear if this by itself would improve the lives of the poor. There is a need to better link urban, social and judicial policies favouring alternative sentencing and support for offenders to integrate into society to avoid vicious circles of social disadvantage and crime.

English Also available in: French

Keywords: poverty, education and training policies, France, discrimination on the labour market, social housing, urban renovation, spatial mismatch, infrastructure investment, poor neighbourhoods
JEL: R31: Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics / Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location / Housing Supply and Markets; R40: Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics / Transportation Economics / Transportation Economics: General; I24: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Education and Inequality; J78: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor Discrimination / Labor Discrimination: Public Policy; I38: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty: Government Policy; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs; I28: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Education: Government Policy
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