Does France Have a Fuel Poverty Trap?



Corinne CHATON

In this article, we focus on fuel poverty. More specifically, we analyse this phenomenon‟s dynamic by answering the following question: does France have a fuel poverty trap? First, we define three states/situations into which individuals may be placed: the non-fuel poverty state, the fuel poverty state and the severe fuel poverty state. Second, we use a mover-stayer model that divides the population into two types of individuals: those who remain in the same state during the observation period (the stayers) and those who move across states (the movers). This model applies to longitudinal data from mainland France that shows that fuel poverty is not an absorbing state, i.e., it is not a trap. Therefore, fuel poverty is usually a transitory state. Using two econometric models (logit and multinomial logit), we then identify the stability and mobility determinants in different states. As expected, on the one hand, there is a relationship between income and the likelihood of an individual staying in the same state. On the other hand, poor housing implies a greater likelihood of stability in fuel poverty or severe fuel poverty. Another result is that the deterioration in fuel poverty status seems to stem more from difficult financial situations than from bad dwelling conditions.

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