Analyse statistique

Revue

Économie, emploi - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Chance, Disorder and Money: Thoughts Prompted by the Dynamics of Living Systems

In the current context of climate change and the exhaustion of resources, the question of humanity’s survival returns to the agenda with some regularity (cf. Jared Diamond, Joseph Tainter, André Lebeau etc). Futuribles has reflected this concern on several occasions (including in the last issue –no. 404– with Pierre Bonnaure raising the question of the long-term prospects for our civilization). On this occasion, it is by way of a long-run analysis, taking account of the dynamics of living (plant, animal and human) systems, that Thierry Gaudin approaches the subject.

The author focuses here on the estimation of the probability that an event will occur and, hence, on the virtues and limitations of forecasting exercises. He reminds us that living systems naturally evolve by a logic that is neither totally subject to chance nor entirely deterministic, but half-way between order and disorder. He stresses, for example, the part played by surprise and emotion, and also their influence on our representations of the world (Nassim Taleb’s “black swans”) and shows that the propensity of living systems to reorganize when stimulated by unexpected information is crucial to their staying alive, but that this inevitably restricts our forecasting capacities.

Having stressed the usefulness of a degree of disorder that is essential to life, Thierry Gaudin demonstrates the extent to which the multiple crises afflicting our planet over more than half a century show up the limits of a system whose mechanisms are hobbled by a model of governance dictated by a single monetary logic. Drawing a parallel with the situation that prevailed in Europe in the late Middle Ages, he concludes that such a structure is currently reaching a limit-point beyond which collapse and decline seem inevitable, unless common goods are put back at the heart of our institutions and we diversify monetary creation.

Futurs d'antan

Économie, emploi

Cost and Value of Human Life According to Alfred Sauvy (1977)

As Nicolas Treich shows in his article on the value of a human life in economics in this issue, in a context of the rationalization of budget decisions, the evaluation of public policies might draw more frequently on the statistical value of human life to inform analyses before political decisions are taken. This economic tool is part of the classical arsenal of cost-benefit analysis in the Anglo-Saxon world. Though used less systematically in France, the idea of attributing a value to human life is not entirely new there. As Alain Parant shows, looking back at analyses published almost 40 years ago by the French economist and demographer Alfred Sauvy, it is relatively easy to determine the cost of a human life and to assess the opportunity embodied in it or its “profitability” at different points in the age cycle (depending on whether we are in a stationary or a growing economy). And, though it is more difficult or less “politically correct” to determine its value, Sauvy argues that that value does have a de facto existence in the form of the socio-economic treatment applied to people at different times of their lives, but that this is not always based on sound assessment criteria.

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Producing Scenarios by the Hundred: How Statistical Approaches are Transforming Foresight Methods

Most foresight exercises requiring a quantitative assessment of the scenarios proceed in two stages. They begin with a qualitative exploration of determining factors, from which a limited range of sets of hypotheses are chosen, producing a –similarly limited– range of scenarios. A mathematical model is then applied which translates the selected hypotheses into input data, in order to quantify the various scenarios identified. Nevertheless, as this article stresses, the increasing complexity of contexts and the possible interplay between the different factors at work in the various fields of study have cast doubt on the appropriateness of this mode of operation. The representativeness of hypotheses selected is no longer any guarantee of the quality of the scenarios deriving from them.

This is why, in this article, Guivarch and Rozenberg propose a different way of proceeding, retaining all the determining factors identified in the field of study and running the models hundreds or thousands of times to get as many scenarios as possible from them. Qualitative choices are then made in a second phase, in the “target-space” of these scenarios. Guivarch and Rozenberg outline this alternative method here, which consists in building databases of scenarios in order to explore the areas of uncertainty. They also indicate the advantages this represents for foresight studies and present an actual example of the use of this method in the field of climate change economics.

Analyse prospective

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Produire des scénarios par centaines

Construire une centrale à gaz, un champ d’éoliennes ou un barrage hydroélectrique pour fournir de l’électricité à une région ? Protéger ou non une zone par des digues contre un risque d’inondation ? Quelle stratégie pour répondre aux besoins futurs en eau d’un territoire ? Quelle(s) essence(s) planter dans telle ou telle forêt ? Toutes ces décisions sont lourdes de conséquences et pourtant elles doivent être prises dans un contexte d’incertitudes sur de nombreux plans. Prendre une ...

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Note de veille

Société, modes de vie

La pauvreté et l’exclusion sociale dans l’Union européenne : 116 millions ou 7 millions de personnes ?

Les évaluations de la pauvreté et de l’exclusion deviennent de plus en plus sophistiquées. Elles permettent une connaissance plus précise des phénomènes et des mécanismes. Elles peuvent, toutefois, conduire à dire tout et son contraire. En décembre 2010, Eurostat a publié un important document de compilation de données. Le communiqué de presse accompagnant l’ouvrage titrait sur 116 millions de personnes affectées par la pauvreté et l’exclusion sociale (soit 24 % de la population de l’Union). Avec les ...

(87 more words)

Revue

Économie, emploi

The Assets Held by French Households. A Key Element Requiring Interpretation

Whereas many analysts are forecasting a deterioration of the French economic situation in the short term, the assets held by French people must be taken into account if we are to have a comprehensive view of the situation. But what do we know about these assets? What are they based on and who is involved?
In this article, Charles du Granrut has studied the assets held by French households. He presents here the long-term trends in those holdings, the way they are evaluated, their main characteristics (mainly the preponderance of residential property), their distribution among the French population, the role they could play in the management of the risks with which households are likely to be confronted etc. This very detailed analysis enables us to grasp both the central place and the great complexity of asset holdings, the composition and accumulation of which remain very much linked to the psychology and life itineraries of individuals, as do the strategies for their allocation. However, if it is highly probable that they will play an increased role in intergenerational relations and in covering life risks (such as dependency), we must nevertheless keep in mind - alongside a certain ignorance on the part of individuals in respect of their asset holdings and the use they can make of them - the very great inequality of their distribution, which prevents them being used as a universal instrument in respect, for example, of social insurance needs.

Revue

Géopolitique - Population

Migrations: the European Statistical Challenge

In July 2007, the European Union adopted a regulation aimed at harmonizing the European statistics relating to international migration. As Xavier Thierry shows here, the statistical challenge is sizeable, and it has to be confronted as soon as possible: in 7 of the 27 member states (including France), the numbers of entries and departures from the national territory is not known and, where figures exist in the other countries, they are not all equally reliable or necessarily comparable.
After recalling the sources of information on international migration that exist in Europe (population registers, various surveys, residence permit files), Thierry reviews the definition of "international migrants", before concentrating more closely on the measurement of international migration flows for France and how to improve it. He then proposes some comparisons between countries of the Union, taking account of the difficulties attaching to the existing tools of measurement. Lastly, he turns to the specific case of residence permit statistics, which represent an interesting tool for the evaluation of migration policies, but which are calculated in France in a way that seems rather startling in relation to the new immigration policy announced by the government and not necessarily coherent with the principles adopted at the European level.

Forum

Population

French Population Statistics in Doubt

New statistics on the French population have just been published following the latest census. They estimate the population at 1 January 2004 to be 62 million, a clear rise compared with previous years. This is due, in large part, to natural increase, i.e. a net surplus of births (the fertility rate - on average 1.9 children per female - is well above the European average) over deaths, which have in turn fallen sharply.
However, another factor in this increase in the French population is the growth of immigration which, having been declared to be falling in earlier years, was suddenly reassessed in a somewhat surprising fashion.
Alain Parant, reviewing the latest available data, explains how this famous net immigration figure is "calculated" and criticizes the obvious inconsistencies between the various sets of available data, as they can vary by as much as 100% over the period 1990-2003.
Although he does not challenge the fundamentals of the French data collection service, nor indeed the new census methods, he does stress the scale of the gaps in the system for investigating demographic change. He illustrates his argument with four examples: the uncertainty surrounding the increases in healthy life expectancy; the lack of figures on voluntary abortions; the highly regrettable decision to abandon the survey of geographical mobility and social integration (MGIS), even though it was extremely useful in analysing what happened to immigrants and their children who were born in France; lastly, the lack of any satisfactory means of measuring migration flows within the country.
Are these lacunae the result of financial restrictions imposed on the statistical services or are there other, less admissible reasons? The author is concerned, rightly stressing the value of reliable population data and the unfortunate consequences of not knowing what is really going on.

Revue

Économie, emploi - Géopolitique

Les pays européens à l’épreuve des taux d’emploi

Achille Seghin provides here a masterly evaluation of how the countries of Europe perform in terms of employment, measured by the percentage of the economically active population (aged 15-64, as for all international comparisons) actually in work.
Readers of Futuribles will be familiar with this indicator because we have long argued in favour of it, and it has indeed been adopted at recent European summit meetings. Nevertheless, Achille Seghin reminds us of the advantages of this indicator, especially compared with unemployment rates, which are more commonly used as a yardstick.
First he surveys the comparative performances of European countries over the last 30 years. Then, refining the analysis to take account of part-time work, he calculates a 'modified' employment rate. Finally, looking at employment by sector, he estimates employment rates for each sector: manufacturing, then services, both commercial and non-commercial.
In conclusion, Seghin argues that contrasting trends can be observed across Europe. Furthermore, he points out that the countries with the highest employment rates also have the highest levels of part-time workers, and those where the employment rate in the commercial sector is highest also have the highest rate in the non-commercial sector.

Revue

Société, modes de vie

Les statistiques incertaines de la délinquance

There is a steadily growing sense of insecurity in France. Consequently the problems of rising crime rates, especially offences committed by young people, are often headline news and are a key issue in political debates, especially in the run-up to major elections.
But what is the 'true' position with regard to the number of delinquents and recorded crimes? Lorraine Tournyol du Clos describes the sources of information available, their good and bad points, and lastly the great difficulties we face in trying to answer these questions properly.
The figures vary widely, depending on whether the source is self-confessed law-breaking, surveys of victims of crime, police statistics or data on court verdicts, since each measures something different. Lastly, the author stresses, we do not really know how many delinquents there are, the numbers and nature of the crimes committed, and even less how the trends change over the long term.
It seems likely that crime is on the increase. But we should treat with caution the numbers being bandied about, their treatment in the media and the use made of them for political ends.

Bibliography

Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Statistical Review of World Energy 2002

L'année 2001 a été marquée par une instabilité très forte des marchés de l'énergie, conséquence des attentats du 11 septembre 2001 comme du ralentissement économique. Depuis trois ans, la croissance annuelle de la consommation mondiale d'énergie primaire est inférieure à 0,5 % (0,3 % en 2001). Le prix du pétrole se maintient à une moyenne de 24,77 dollars US le baril, bien au-dessus de la moyenne des années post-1986 (19 dollars US le baril). La production ...

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Revue

Économie, emploi

Le patrimoine des Français

The Patrimony of the French
Extracted from a work by Louis Dirn (the pseudonym of a group of sociologists who have been meeting for 15 years at the French Economic Research Institute, OFCE), "The French Society of Trends 1975-1995," this text relates to the evolution over the last twenty years of French patrimony.
He reveals the changes occurring on the one hand at the level of the accumulation and debt behaviour of households (in particular under the effect of interest rates and inflation rates), and on the other hand, of the composition of patrimony (consisting of housing and financial assets).
Its author, Louis Chauvel, furthermore underlines how inequalities are increasing (10% of the most wealthy households concentrate 50% of the patrimony of households and receive 70% of the income which it generates), particularly between age categories and between generations.

Bibliography

Économie, emploi

Revenus et patrimoine des ménages

Ce document est, comme son nom l'indique, consacré aux revenus et au patrimoine des ménages français. Il a été réalisé à partir d'études élaborées par l'INSEE et comprend, entre autres, les premiers résultats de l'enquête Revenus fiscaux 1996, permettant de suivre les évolutions du revenu fiscal des ménages de 1970 à 1996. Il ressort de cette étude qu'au cours des années 1990, le patrimoine des ménages français a progressé plus vite que leur revenu. Dans ...

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Revue

Économie, emploi

L’internationalisation de la science. Une analyse bibliométrique

Internationalisation of Science
To what extent has the globalisation of business been fostered by a strong development of international scientific cooperation? Yoshiko Okubo intends here to measure the degree of internationalisation of science, using a bibliometric analysis of works by experts from different countries.
Although this is not a perfect indicator, she was able not only to demonstrate that a growing proportion of scientific products are co-signed by authors from different countries, but she proved as well that geopolitical, historical and cultural factors - in brief, affinities between countries - are playing an important role in establishing links of cooperation or competition.
Also, science policies vary among countries: some (Japan, Sweden) recognize their weaknesses and send their researchers abroad; others (for example, United States and France) tend to be host countries; in other cases, exchanges are balanced (Germany, Netherlands).

Bibliography

Population

« Mouvement de la population de la Russie 1959-1994 : tableaux démographiques »

La glasnost s'est traduite, dans le domaine de la démographie, par la diffusion de données tenues secrètes jusqu'alors, en particulier sur la mortalité infantile et les causes de décès. Plusieurs recueils de statistiques ont été publiés au tournant des années 1990 et l'on pouvait espérer que cette entreprise de reconstitution des séries démographiques se poursuivrait. Les difficultés qu'affronte la Russie font malheureusement craindre, aujourd'hui, que les services officiels n'aient pas les moyens, dans les ...

(185 more words)

Revue

Économie, emploi

Les taux d’occupation en Europe. Le choix des indicateurs pertinents

Ni le taux de chômage ni le taux d'activité ne rendent compte correctement de la véritable situation de l'emploi ; a fortiori de la proportion d'actifs occupés par rapport à la population totale et donc de la charge qui pèse sur les premiers. Achille Seghin invite à considérer plutôt le taux d'occupation calculé en rapportant la population effectivement occupée à la population d'âge actif (15-64 ans). A l'aune de cet indicateur, il montre combien la ...

(encore 168 mots)

Revue

Institutions

La protection sociale en Europe. Données statistiques 1980-1992

Entre 1980 et 1992, dans l'Union européenne, les dépenses de protection sociale par habitant, exprimées en prix constants, ont augmenté de 40,6 % alors que la croissance, en termes réels, du PIB par tête s'est élevée à 26,5 %. La note ci-dessous, extraite des « Statistiques rapides » d'Eurostat, révèle comment ont évolué, d'une part les dépenses et leur répartition par fonction, d'autre part les recettes et leur répartition par origine.

Bibliography

Institutions

Recueil statistique sur la protection sociale en Europe. Indigence

Eurostat publie régulièrement des données agrégées de dépenses et de recettes courantes de protection sociale qui sont établies et présentées conformément à la méthodologie européenne SESPROS (Système européen de statistiques intégrées de la protection sociale). L'une des classifications des prestations s'effectue par « fonction », en d'autres termes par risque couvert. Le présent document, qui constitue le huitième volume de Recueil statistique sur la protection sociale en Europe, est consacré à la fonction « indigence ». L'introduction de ce rapport ...

(136 more words)

Bibliography

Institutions - Santé

Santé, soins et protection sociale en 1994

Le CREDES publie le cinquième bilan annuel sur la protection sociale, l'état de santé, la consommation médicale, le recours aux pratiques parallèles de soins et l'opinion des Français sur l'assurance. Cette étude a été réalisée à partir de l'enquête Santé et Protection Sociale menée annuellement auprès des ménages résidant sur le territoire métropolitain et dont un membre au moins est assuré au régime général ou au régime des professions indépendantes de la sécurité sociale (soit 9 ...

(148 more words)

Bibliography

Entreprises, travail - Géopolitique

Enquête sur les forces de travail. Résultats 1993

Le présent volume publie les résultats détaillés de l'enquête communautaire sur les forces de travail réalisée en 1993 dans les États membres de l'Union européenne. Cette enquête comme les précédentes, effectuées entre 1983 et 1992, se fonde sur les recommandations du Bureau international du travail (BIT) concernant les statistiques du travail. En adoptant des normes internationalement acceptées, l'enquête européenne sur les forces de travail est devenue au fil des ans une ressource importante et précieuse de statistiques ...

(106 more words)

Bibliography

Entreprises, travail

Le Monde du travail

Un premier chapitre selon une approche socio-démographique fait le point des données chiffrées sur la population active et sur les tendances de longue période qui la concernent. Le deuxième chapitre présente une synthèse sur les opinions, les attentes et les valeurs dans le domaine du travail : les motivations au travail, le travail en tant que valeur, les arbitrages entre salaire et temps de travail, l'inquiétude du chômage, le malaise des cadres. Le troisième chapitre traite de la crise des ...

(73 more words)

Bibliography

Géopolitique - Population

Statistiques démographiques 1994

L'annuaire statistiques démographiques 1994 présente pour chaque thème les principales données de la population communautaire et des États membres, ce qui permet une comparaison directe entre pays pour chaque phénomène ou indicateur. De nombreux graphiques illustrent les données présentées. Les chiffres les plus récents concernent l'année 1992. Un court descriptif de la situation démographique de chaque pays, en 1992, figure en fin de volume. Un chapitre spécial présente des données pour les pays de l'Association européenne de ...

(82 more words)