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La grande stagnation des revenus

BERKELEY – De nos jours, le débat sur les inégalités a souvent tendance à s’axer sur l’accumulation disproportionnée de revenus et de richesses par une infime partie des ménages aux États-Unis et dans d’autres économies développées. Une tendance moins évoquée – mais tout aussi problématique – réside dans la stagnation voire le déclin du revenu des ménages dans leur majorité.

Dans la majeure partie de l’après-guerre, et jusqu’aux années 2000, PIB solide et croissance des emplois au sein des économies développées ont été synonymes d’une augmentation de revenus pour la quasi-totalité des ménages, que ce soit avant ou après impôts et transferts. Résultat, les générations successives ont grandi avec l’espoir de vivre une existence plus prospère que la précédente. Or, d’après de récentes recherches menées par McKinsey Global Institute, il n’est désormais plus certain que cette espérance puisse être satisfaite.

Ces dix dernières années, la croissance des revenus a subi un net coup d’arrêt pour la plupart des ménages des pays développés, les plus durement frappés ayant été les ménages monoparentaux ou les ménages composés de jeunes travailleurs parmi les moins instruits. Le revenu réel composé des salaires et du capital des ménages situés au même niveau de la pyramide de répartition des revenus était inférieur en 2014 à celui de 2005, pour environ deux tiers des ménages au sein de 25 économies développées – c’est-à-dire pour plus de 500 millions d’individus. Par opposition, entre 1993 et 2005, moins des 2 % des ménages de ces pays ont vu leurs revenus stagner ou diminuer.

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