Title: The social stratification of the costs of motoring in France (1984-2006)

Authors: Yoann Demoli

Addresses: Observatoire Sociologique du Changement, Sciences Po, 27, rue Saint Guillaume, 75007 Paris, France; Laboratoire de Sociologie Quantitative, 62, rue Étienne Dolet, 92240, Malakoff, France

Abstract: This paper examines the evolutions and the role of the motoring expenditure in French household's budgets. It first presents the general trends of the budgetary weight of motoring expenditure. The fall in motoring expenditure budget since 1984 seems to suggest that the car is a 'normal' good, or even an 'inferior' good: the upward trend in household incomes has been accompanied by a fall in the share of expenditure on motoring. By using a classification the paper then presents how motoring expenditure conceals different rationale for French households. The expansion in car ownership thus demonstrates not so much a process of homogenisation as a form of polarisation illustrated here by the extremes of motoring expenditure devoted to renewal of a high quality car for some and the maintenance and use of a rather dilapidated one for others. Moreover, a close analysis of motoring expenditure reveals a three-fold rationale: a rationale of constraint, one of choice and one of risk.

Keywords: France; motoring costs; automobile industry; vehicle consumption; social stratification; automobility; household expenditure surveys; motoring expenditure; household budgets; household incomes; automotive expenditure; car ownership; polarisation; constraints; choice; risk.

DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2015.070278

International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 2015 Vol.15 No.3, pp.311 - 328

Available online: 11 May 2015 *

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