The minimum wage: from labour costs to living standards. Comparing France, Germany and the UK

By Odile Chagny, IRES, Sabine Le BayonCatherine Mathieu, Henri Sterdyniak, OFCE

Most developed countries now have a minimum wage, including 22 of the 28 EU countries. France has long stood out for its relatively high minimum wage, the SMIC. But in 1999, the United Kingdom introduced a minimum wage, and the British government’s goal is to raise this level to 60% of the median wage by 2020, which would bring it to the level of France’s SMIC and among the highest-ranking countries in the OECD. More recently, in 2015, Germany also introduced a minimum wage. Continue reading “The minimum wage: from labour costs to living standards. Comparing France, Germany and the UK”

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The middle class: baseless fears or genuine hardship?

By Louis Chauvel

The term “middle class” is one of those social science concepts that provoke controversy due to its complex definition and dynamics and the political debate it generates. The fact that it is surrounded by sharp controversy should not therefore come as a big surprise. In a note by the OFCE – where a multifaceted definition of the middle class is proposed [1] – we review several dimensions of the social malaise afflicting this social group, which is often considered to be relatively privileged, in an effort to understand the actual situation. Continue reading “The middle class: baseless fears or genuine hardship?”

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