Économie et Statistique n° 478-479-480 - 2015Social and fiscal measures for families - Link between diploma and professional integration - Dossier: Time Use survey
Social and fiscal measures for families: how to compensate for the cost of children?
The primary objective of family policy in its broadest sense is to “help compensate for family spending” (“Family” quality and efficiency schemes, Draft law on social security financing). Through this policy, the family components of social and fiscal transfers amount to additional disposable income of €213 per child for families with children between the ages of 3 and 19. To evaluate the extent to which the compensation objective is achieved, this additional income must be compared with a measure of “spending on family”, i.e. the cost of children. This article assesses the degree of compensation for the cost of children according to two competing measures: a traditional empirical measure, which comes from the equivalence scale known as "modified OECD" and a more original, normative measure derived from the recent ONPES definition of reference budgets to measure children's needs. For families with children between the ages of 3 and 19, family-oriented measures compensate on average for 34% of the empirical cost of children and 26% of their normative cost. The proportion of compensation is higher for single-parent and large families. Between the first and last decile of initial income, the proportion of compensation goes from 99% to 10% with the first definition, in which cost is proportional to income, and from 34% to 25% with the second, in which cost is independent of income. Evaluating the effectiveness of family transfers in relation to their objective of compensating spending on family is very sensitive to the measure of costs selected, particularly at the extremes of income distribution.