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Down and Out or Up and In? Polarization-Based Measures of the Middle Class for Latin America

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Author Info

  • Guillermo Cruces

    (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - FCE - UNLP, CONICET, e IZA)

  • Luis Felipe López Calva

    (The World Bank)

  • Diego Battistón

    (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - FCE - UNLP, y CONICET)

Abstract

This document presents a systematic review of empirical approaches to the identification and measurement of the middle class as the concept is used in the applied literature. It then presents an arguably less arbitrary definition of the middle class which is based on sound principles of distributional analysis and derived from income polarization measures. The document illustrates the differences between the existing approaches and the proposed methodology with a comparative analysis of the extent and evolution of the middle classes since the early 1990s in six Latin American countries. The polarization-based measurements of the middle class are shown to exhibit a greater degree of homogeneity in terms of some key socioeconomic characteristics than other measures employed in the literature.

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File URL: http://cedlas.econo.unlp.edu.ar/archivos_upload/doc_cedlas113.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata in its series CEDLAS, Working Papers with number 0113.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dls:wpaper:0113

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Postal: Calle 48 No555 - La Plata (1900)
Phone: 21- 1466
Fax: 54-21-25-9536
Web page: http://cedlas.econo.unlp.edu.ar/
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Related research

Keywords: middle class; distribution; polarization; Latin America;

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References

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  1. Andreas Peichl & Thilo Schaefer & Christoph Scheicher, 2010. "Measuring Richness And Poverty: A Micro Data Application To Europe And Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(3), pages 597-619, 09.
  2. Esteban, J. & Ray, D., 1993. "On the Measurement of Polarization," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 221.93, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  3. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  5. Abdelkrim Araar, 2008. "Social Classes, Inequality and Redistributive Policies in Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0817, CIRPEE.
  6. Birdsall, N. & Graham, C. & Pettinato, S., 2000. "Stuck in the Tunnel: Is Globalization Muddling the Middle Class?," Papers 14, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
  7. Barro, Robert J., 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Scholarly Articles 3451297, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Esther Duflo & Abhijit Banerjee, 2008. "What is Middle Class About the Middle Classes Around the World?," Working Papers id:1363, eSocialSciences.
  9. Leonardo Gasparini & Guillero Cruces & Leopoldo Tornarolli, 2011. "Recent Trends In Income Inequality In Latin America," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  10. James Foster & Michael Wolfson, 2010. "Polarization and the decline of the middle class: Canada and the U.S," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 247-273, June.
  11. Conchita D'Ambrosio & Pietro Muliere & Piercesare Secchi, 2003. "Income Thresholds and Income Classes," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 325, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  12. Torche, Florencia & Lopez-Calva, Luis F., 2012. "Stability and Vulnerability of the Latin American Middle Class," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  13. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Income distribution, political instability, and investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1203-1228, June.
  14. Marcelo Medeiros, 2006. "The Rich and the Poor: The Construction of an Affluence Line from the Poverty Line," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 78(1), pages 1-18, 08.
  15. Ravallion, Martin, 2009. "The Developing World's Bulging (but Vulnerable) "Middle Class"," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4816, The World Bank.
  16. Easterly, William, 2001. " The Middle Class Consensus and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 317-35, December.
  17. Robert Erikson & John H. Goldthorpe, 2002. "Intergenerational Inequality: A Sociological Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 31-44, Summer.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. ¿No es la hora de la clase media?
    by Cecilia Rossel in Razones y personas: repensando Uruguay on 2012-11-29 15:03:00

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