Growth and Well-Being: The Case Study of French UPR/Croissance et Bien-Etre : Le Cas Des RUP Francaises

By Devoue, Elina Marie | Canadian Journal of Regional Science, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Growth and Well-Being: The Case Study of French UPR/Croissance et Bien-Etre : Le Cas Des RUP Francaises


Devoue, Elina Marie, Canadian Journal of Regional Science


Abstract

The aim of this paper is to see if positive economic growth is related to increase in the well-being of the populations by considering the case study of the four French Ultra Peripheral Regions (UPR): Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and Reunion. Economic growth is analyzed by observing the evolution of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita from 1997 to 2004. The GDP per capita is growing in the French UPR. It posted an increase of 37.1% in Guadeloupe, 16.8% in French Guiana, 31% in Martinique and 38.7% in Reunion during this period. The inadequacy of this indicator as measure of well-being is underlined, as is its use as a criterion of allocation of subsidies by the European Commission. The Human Development Indices (HDI) of the French UPR do not appear in the statistics of United Nations Development Program. The analyses show that the HDI of these regions are better than 0.80. The French UPR form part of the countries with high human development. An objective estimation of well-being is undertaken by constructing an Index of Economic Well-Being. It includes four components: the consumption dimension, the accumulation of stocks of productive wealth, economic inequality and poverty and economic security. The results show that economic growth is related to an increase in well-being. However, the economic security dimension does not always move in a favourable way. A subjective estimation is undertaken presenting the results of a survey of satisfaction of life in Martinique in 2008. It is noticed that the satisfaction of life in Martinique is equal to 2.80 (2.78 for women and 2.83 for men). It is lower than the national average for France which is equal to 3. Explanations of these results draw upon the effect of customs, social comparisons, relative income and adaptation.

Resume

Le present article a pour objectif de voir si la croissance economique positive est liee a l'accroissement du bien-etre des populations en considerant le cas des quatre Regions Ultraperipheriques Francaises (Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique, Reunion). Nous analysons la croissance economique en observant l'evolution du PIB par habitant de 1997 a 2004. Nous soulignons les insuffisances de cet indicateur comme mesure du bien-etre et comme critere d'attribution d'aide de la Commission Europeenne. Nous realisons une evaluation objective du bien-etre en construisant un Indicateur de Bien-Etre Economique. Nous effectuons une evaluation subjective en presentant les resultats d'une enquete de satisfaction de vie que nous avons realisee. Les resultats montrent que la croissance economique est associee a une elevation du bien-etre. Cependant la dimension securite economique n'evolue pas toujours de facon favorable.

Introduction

Le bien-etre est suppose croitre avec le revenu ou avec la richesse, tant pour les individus que pour les regions et les nations. Cependant, la croissance economique constitue souvent une condition necessaire, mais non suffisante, de l'amelioration du bien-etre des populations. Elle peut-etre generatrice d'inegalites. Elle n'est pas neutre du point de vue redistributif.

Ainsi, la croissance se serait accompagnee d'un accroissement des inegalites au Chili, en Chine et en Pologne (Rodrick 2000). M. Ravallion (2001) montre que, lorsque le revenu ou la consommation moyenne par tete augmente, il existe une chance sur deux que les inegalites croissent et une chance sur deux qu'elles diminuent.

La croissance peut-etre << pro-poor >> (tres favorable aux pauvres) lorsque la baisse de l'indice de pauvrete se realise a un taux de croissance superieur a celui du Produit Interieur Brut (PIB). Elle est << trickle down >> (moderement favorable aux pauvres) quand l'indice de pauvrete baisse a un taux inferieur a celui du PIB. Deux cas de croissance appauvrissante sont distingues. Dans le premier cas, une amelioration de la capacite d'offre de certains produits, deja exportes, tend a faire baisser leurs prix sur les marches mondiaux (Bhagwati 1968). …

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