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The rich, the poor, and the middle class: Thresholds and intensity indices

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  • Eisenhauer, Joseph G.
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    Abstract

    This paper contributes to the literature on the measurement of social classes by providing a wealth threshold for distinguishing the rich from the middle class and an intensity index for measuring the extent of affluence within a country. The empirical applicability of this approach is then illustrated with household-level survey data from the Bank of Italy; the results show an unambiguous decline in poverty and an increase in affluence in Italy between 2002 and 2004. Moreover, the findings indicate that social class is statistically linked to age, gender, marital status, household size, education, employment, and geography.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090944311000032
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research in Economics.

    Volume (Year): 65 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 294-304

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:reecon:v:65:y:2011:i:4:p:294-304

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622941

    Related research

    Keywords: Social class Poverty Affluence Wealth threshold;

    References

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    1. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2004. "Do the Rich Save More?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 397-444, April.
    2. Peichl, Andreas & Schaefer, Thilo & Scheicher, Christoph, 2008. "Measuring Richness and Poverty: A Micro Data Application to Europe and Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3790, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Tindara Addabbo, 2000. "Poverty Dynamics: Analysis of Household Incomes in Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 14(1), pages 119-144, 03.
    4. G. BellettiniC Berti Ceroni, 1999. "Income Distribution, Borrowing Constraints and Redistributive Policies," Working Papers 359, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    5. Tito Boeri & Andrea Brandolini, 2004. "The Age of Discontent: Italian Households at the Beginning of the Decade," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 63(3-4), pages 449-487, December.
    6. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
    7. Joseph Eisenhauer, 2008. "An Economic Definition of the Middle Class," Forum for Social Economics, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 103-113, August.
    8. Birdsall, N. & Graham, C. & Pettinato, S., 2000. "Stuck in the Tunnel: Is Globalization Muddling the Middle Class?," Papers 14, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
    9. Udo Ebert & Patrick Moyes, 2002. "A Simple Axiomatization of the Foster, Greer and Thorbecke Poverty Orderings," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(4), pages 455-473, October.
    10. Satya R. Chakravarty & Pietro Muliere, 2004. "Welfare indicators: a review and new perspectives. 2. Measurement of poverty," Metron - International Journal of Statistics, Dipartimento di Statistica, Probabilità e Statistiche Applicate - University of Rome, vol. 0(2), pages 247-281.
    11. Joseph Eisenhauer, 2008. "An Economic Definition of the Middle Class," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 103-113, January.
    12. Alworth, Julian & Arachi, Giampaolo & Hamaui, Rony, 2003. ""What's Come to Perfection Perishes*": Adjusting Capital Gains Taxation in Italy," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(1), pages 197-219, March Cit.
    13. Marcelo Medeiros, 2006. "Poverty, inequality and redistribution: A methodology to define the rich," Working Papers 18, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    14. Richard ANKER, 2006. "Poverty lines around the world: A new methodology and internationally comparable estimates," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 145(4), pages 279-307, December.
    15. John C. Weicher, 1997. "The rich and the poor: demographics of the U.S. wealth distribution," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 25-37.
    16. Francesco Devicienti & Valentina Gualtieri & Mariacristina Rossi, 2010. "The Dynamics and Persistence of Poverty: Evidence from Italy," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 173, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    17. Conchita D'Ambrosio & Joseph Deutsch & Jacques Silber, 2009. "Multidimensional approaches to poverty measurement: an empirical analysis of poverty in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, based on the European panel," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(8), pages 951-961.
    18. Paola Profeta, 2007. "Political support and tax reforms with an application to Italy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 141-155, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Nuno Crespo & Sandrina Berthault Moreira & Nádia Simões, 2011. "An integrated approach for the measurement of inequality, poverty, and richness," Working Papers 205, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    2. Michał Brzeziński, 2013. "Variance estimation for richness measures," Working Papers 2013-03, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    3. Lidia Ceriani & Paolo Verme, 2013. "The Income Lever and the Allocation of Aid," Working Papers 286, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.

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