Économie et Statistique n° 346-347 - 2001The RMI: between redistribution and incentives
The Process of Signing onto the Minimum Integration Income System and Integration Methods
Biographical analysis is a favourite instrument for sociologists to study signing onto the minimum integration income system and the achievement of this system's dual objective: to provide subsistence income to protect recipients from social exclusion while encouraging their reintegration into stable forms of employment. An analysis of 34 recipients' social paths shows that minimum integration income only fully plays its role for people who already have material resources, a relational network and a certain level of training before signing onto the system. For example, it helps young graduates from modest backgrounds to concentrate on finding a first job in keeping with their training. It also helps the self-employed to rejoin the employment market. Where there is a lack of training or contacts, minimum integration income is combined with income from casual labour or unemployment, or plays the role of a subsidy to make ends meet between two temporary jobs. Since it hardly wards off occupational vulnerability, it forms part of a set of mechanisms operating on the fringes of the wage-earning class. Such is the case for young people in an insecure situation and poorly qualified mothers. Lastly, some population groups amass problems: poor health and loss of contacts with the world of work combine with severe social isolation. The financial assistance provided by minimum integration income is therefore often a meagre support to help make ends meet until eligible for another supplementary benefit (adult disability allowance, supplementary benefit for seniors, etc.).