What Is Middle Class about the Middle Classes around the World?
We expect a lot from the middle classes. At least three distinct arguments about the special economic role of the middle class are traditionally made. In one, new entrepreneurs armed with a capacity and a tolerance for delayed gratification emerge from the middle class and create employment and productivity growth for the rest of society. In a second, perhaps more conventional view, the middle class is primarily a source of vital inputs for the entrepreneurial class: it is their "middle class values" -- their emphasis on the accumulation of human capital and savings -- that makes them central to the process of capitalist accumulation. The third view, a staple of the business press, emphasizes the middle class consumer, whose demand for quality consumer goods feeds investment in production and marketing, which in turn raises income levels for everyone. This essay asks what we should make of these arguments in the context of today's developing countries. We focus on two groups of households: those whose daily per capita expenditures are between $2 and $4, and those with expenditures between $6 and $10. These are the groups that we will call the middle class. Starting from survey data on patterns of consumption and investment by the middle class in thirteen developing countries, we look for what is distinct about the global middle class, especially when compared to the global poor (defined as those whose per capita daily consumption is below $2 a day). In particular, is there anything special about the way middle class people per spend their money, earn their incomes, or bring up their children?
Volume (Year): 22 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/|
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Easterly, William, 2000.
"the middle class consensus and economic development,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2346, The World Bank.
- Easterly, William, 2001. "The Middle Class Consensus and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 317-35, December.
- Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "Social Class and the Spirit of Capitalism," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 516-524, 04/05.
- Michael Kremer & Nazmul Chaudhury & F. Halsey Rogers & Karthik Muralidharan & Jeffrey Hammer, 2005. "Teacher Absence in India: A Snapshot," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 658-667, 04/05.
- Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1989.
"Industrialization and the Big Push,"
3606235, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2007.
"Aging and Death under a Dollar a Day,"
NBER Working Papers
13683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Besley, Timothy J. & Burgess, Robin, 2002.
"Can Labour Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
3260, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
- Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "Can Labour Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 33, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "Can labour regulation hinder economic performance? Evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3779, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2009.
"Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 423.
- Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1329-1372.
- de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2934, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to capital in microenterprises : evidence from a field experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4230, The World Bank.
- Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2005.
"Money for nothing : the dire straits of medical practice in Delhi, India,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
3669, The World Bank.
- Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2007. "Money for nothing: The dire straits of medical practice in Delhi, India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 1-36, May.
- Birdsall, N. & Graham, C. & Pettinato, S., 2000. "Stuck in the Tunnel: Is Globalization Muddling the Middle Class?," Papers 14, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
- Banerjee, Abhijit V. & Duflo, Esther, 2005. "Growth Theory through the Lens of Development Economics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 473-552 Elsevier.
- Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2006.
"The Economic Lives of the Poor,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1996.
"Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk, Diversification and Growth,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1426, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1997. "Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk, Diversification, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 709-51, August.
- Daron Acemoglu & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1994. "Was Prometheus unbound by chance? Risk, diversification and growth," Economics Working Papers 98, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Foster, Andrew D. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2008. "Economic Development and the Decline of Agricultural Employment," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
- Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:2:p:3-28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)or (Michael P. Albert)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.