Thibaut Plassot, Michael Sicsic (2023) – Mapping Inequality of Opportunity in France and its Regions: A Data-Driven Analysis of Income Inequality from Fiscal Administrative Data

This paper provides measures of Inequality of Opportunity (IOp) in France and its regions
using an original database that synthesizes wide administrative information. The data directly
links young adults’ incomes in 2019 to those of their parents in 2010, and to other
circumstances like gender, family capital, household type, living area, occupation status,
education and migratory status of parents. The contributions of the article are threefold: first,
it calculates IOp in France based on fiscal administrative information for the first time; second,
it provides measures of both ex-ante and ex-post IOp, and with different robustness checks; and
third, it computes IOp for each region in France and identifies bottlenecks to equality of
opportunity. We show that ex-post IOp accounts for almost half of the total inequality, while
ex-ante IOp represents a much smaller proportion. Moreover, we find that IOp measured with
relative rank is smaller than IOp measured with absolute income. We also provide an extensive
survey of the international literature and show that France is characterized by a moderate level
of IOp compared to other countries. Lastly, we highlight the heterogeneity at the subnational
level by identifying four groups of regions according to their inequality profiles.