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Anatomy of the Suburban Metropolis : Labor Earnings, Large Scale Commuting, and Social Discontent

Abstract : The location of jobs and populations has changed significantly over the last half century, with the rise of car use and the increase in home-to-work distances. This development has led to emergence of the extit{suburban} metropolis, symbol of a new urban equilibrium. In France, the Yellow Vests (extit{Gilets jaunes}) movement has been the emblem of the call into question of this equilibrium. The importance of the mobilization has shed light on the reliance of individuals on car in their daily life and the place of the suburban metropolis in the reshaping of the organization of the production. A substantial share of the territory was blocked from the first Act of the movement's mobilization, underlying the need to better understand the spatial reshuffling of opportunities in recent decades.This dissertation aims to shed light on the role of territories, both physical and digital, in the formation of individual choices. Its chapters contrast the effect of public policies on individuals depending on their place of living. They also provide insights for their efficient implementation accounting for the local contexts. Finally, through the study of social discontent, this thesis provides a better understanding on the dynamics of protests against public action.The first two chapters focus on the evaluation of the public policies and their heterogeneous impact among places. The last two chapters study the Yellow Vests movement, which is rooted in the evolution of the metropolitan landscape. The first chapter examines the effect of labor market reforms, implemented in the turn of the 2000s, on individuals' labor earnings. Particularly it focuses on the disparities between men and women, and between places. Its shows that these social policies have contributed to the reduction of inequality between rural and urban municipalities. The second chapter describes how transportation infrastructure programs contributed to the making of the suburban metropolis, through a case study of Paris urban planning in the second half of the XXst century. It shows that rail (RER) and road (highways) improvement were actually complement to support the geographic extension of the metropolis. These two chapters hence provide a background of the development of the French society in the last decades.However, this long-term dynamics have been attenuated, if not reversed, since the beginning of the 2010s. Indeed, labor earnings inequality have tended to increase again in the wage of the 2008 financial crisis and the use of individual cars has no longer been favored by public authorities, in a context of increasing fuel prices and ecological concerns. In this context the surge of the Yellow Vests movement was a surprise. The third chapter described this mobilization. It provides evidence that the protest is tied with individuals' mobility constraints and thus linked with the development of the suburban metropolis. The fourth, and last chapter, study the dynamics of the movement. It shed light on the interplay between the development of online territories and offline actions, which explains how the movement was able to gather protesters from remote locations on the first day of road blockades.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - 4:52:11 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, August 16, 2022 - 11:30:43 AM


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Thomas Delemotte. Anatomy of the Suburban Metropolis : Labor Earnings, Large Scale Commuting, and Social Discontent. Economics and Finance. Institut Polytechnique de Paris, 2022. English. ⟨NNT : 2022IPPAG003⟩. ⟨tel-03749378⟩



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