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Do middle classes bring about institutional reforms?

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  • Loayza, Norman
  • Rigolini, Jamele
  • Llorente, Gonzalo

Abstract

We reexamine the association between poverty, the middle class, and institutional outcomes using a newly developed cross-country panel dataset containing detailed information on the distribution of income and expenditure. When the size of the middle class increases (measured as the proportion of people with income above 10 US dollars a day in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms), social policy on health and education becomes more active and the quality of governance regarding democratic participation and official corruption improves. This does not occur at the expense of economic freedom, as an expansion of the middle class also implies more market-oriented economic policy on trade and finance. In these respects, the impact of a larger middle class appears to be more robust than those of lower poverty, lower inequality, or higher gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.

Suggested Citation

  • Loayza, Norman & Rigolini, Jamele & Llorente, Gonzalo, 2012. "Do middle classes bring about institutional reforms?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 440-444.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:116:y:2012:i:3:p:440-444
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2012.04.013
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephan Klasen & Nathalie Scholl & Rahul Lahoti & Sophie Ochmann & Sebastian Vollmer, 2016. "Inequality – Worldwide Trends and Current Debates," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 209, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    2. Kapsos, Steven. & Bourmpoula, Evangelia., 2013. "Employment and economic class in the developing world," ILO Working Papers 994855123402676, International Labour Organization.
    3. Tim Krieger & Daniel Meierrieks, 2016. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Terrorism?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5821, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Krieger, Tim & Meierrieks, Daniel, 2016. "Political capitalism: The interaction between income inequality, economic freedom and democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 115-132.
    5. Rick Mourits & Luuk Van Kempen, 2016. "How Do the Middle Class and the Poor Grow Apart? An Empirical Test of the Psychological Well-Being Pathway in Middle-Income Countries," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 28(5), pages 893-915, November.
    6. repec:taf:rsocec:v:75:y:2017:i:1:p:26-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:bla:rdevec:v:21:y:2017:i:2:p:404-424 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:bla:revinw:v:63:y:2017:i:4:p:633-660 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Michel Strawczynski, 2014. "The optimal inheritance tax in the presence of investment in education," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(4), pages 768-795, August.
    10. Chun, Natalie & Hasan, Rana & Rahman, Muhammad Habibur & Ulubaşoğlu, Mehmet A., 2016. "The role of middle class in democratic diffusion," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 536-548.
    11. Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Julian Messina & Jamele Rigolini & Luis-Felipe López-Calva & Maria Ana Lugo & Renos Vakis, 2013. "Economic Mobility and the Rise of the Latin American Middle Class
      [La movilidad económica y el crecimiento de la clase media en América Latina]
      ," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11858.
    12. Gómez León, María, 2015. "The rise of the middle class : Brazil (1839-1950)," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp15-09, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Poverty; Middle class; Income; Institutions; Development;

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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