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What is Bip-40?

The Bip 40 (Barometer of Inequalities and Poverty) has been conceived by the French network “Réseau d’alerte sur les inégalités” (Alert Network on Inequalities). This indicator encompasses six major dimensions: health, housing, education, justice, labor and employment, and incomes. Each of them is evaluated by variables collectively chosen, since they express gender, social and intergenerational inequalities, and also because they matter in the French debates and appears to reflect major contemporaneous social problems.

How is Bip-40 computed?

Within the aggregation process inherent to the conception of a synthetic index (the “Barometer”), two dimensions are more weighted than the others: “Labor and employment” and “incomes”, given the importance of these dimensions in the mechanism that produces inequalities and poverties. They are divided in sub-dimensions which allow for enlarging a multidimensional approach of poverty and inequalities. Consumption, inequalities, poverties and wages are part of the “income” dimension. Unemployment, precariousness, labor conditions and professional relationships inform on the “labor and employment” dimension.

Totally, the sixty variables accounted in the barometer are aggregated according to a process of normalization: on a 20-year period, each variable is normalized according to its best performance (value 10 for the best year) and its worst performance on the period (value 0 for the worst year). The barometer thus varies between 0 and 10.


The barometer indicates increasing inequalities and poverty in France on the all period studied, notwithstanding rest periods: 1981-1983, 1989-1991, 1997-2000 (see Graph.1). This collective production and the fact having opened its results on the discussion have allowed citizen to critically question the use of the indicators in the opinions’ shaping and on public policies objectives. For instance, it is questionable that, while the monetary poverty rates indicator or the inter-deciles ratio, are steadily decreasing, the Bip-40 steadily increases.


Application of the Bip-40 at regional levels

Bip-40 has been computed at a territorial level for the Nord Pas de Calais by Florence Jany-Catrice and Stephan Kampelmann. The lack of data at regional level has not allowed for a mechanist transposition of the Bip-40 at this territorial level.As a consequence, different variants have been suggested. They have given rise to the production of estimations of the multidimensional inequalities and poverty in the region for the last decade.

As an example, Graph 2 shows one of these variants: a barometer accounting 29 available variables that could be applied for other French regions. This variant, as the others, shows a strong increase in inequalities and poverty in the Nord Pas de Calais Region on the last decade.

Bip 2 Jany Catrice Kampelmann.JPG


Gadrey, J., & Jany-Catrice, F. (2007). Les nouveaux indicateurs de richesse. Paris: Ed. La DécouverteLebaron, F. (2003). Le savant, le politique et la mondialisation. Paris: Atheles.

G. De Martino, Global economy, global justice : theoretical objections and policy alternatives to neoliberalism, Routledge, 2000.

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