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