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The Shrinking Middle-Income Class: A Multivariate Analysis


  • Joe C. Davis

    (Trinity University)

  • John H. Huston

    (Trinity University)


Deindustrialization, a decline in union membership, maturation of baby-boomers, shorter working hours and increasing numbers of families headed by women and blacks have all been cited as causes of the "shrinking of the middle class." Simultaneously testing these hypotheses, we find that the decline in union membership and fewer annual hours of work are the most important factors explaining the shift towards the lower-income class. The increase in the service sector had little impact. The major cause of movement into the upper class is the increasing number of two-income families.

Suggested Citation

  • Joe C. Davis & John H. Huston, 1992. "The Shrinking Middle-Income Class: A Multivariate Analysis," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 277-285, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:18:y:1992:i:3:p:277-285

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    2. Charles M. Beach, 1989. "Review: Dollars and Dreams: A Reduced Middle Class? Alternative Explanations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 162-193.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jérôme Lefranc, 2012. "Polarisation et déclin de la classe moyenne : le cas de la Russie," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 12054, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    2. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00775929 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Çakır, Mustafa Yavuz & Kabundi, Alain, 2013. "Trade shocks from BRIC to South Africa: A global VAR analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 190-202.
    4. M-super-a Casilda Lasso de la Vega & Ana Urrutia & Henar Díez, 2010. "Unit Consistency And Bipolarization Of Income Distributions," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(1), pages 65-83, March.
    5. Chiara Gigliarano & Karl Mosler, 2009. "Constructing indices of multivariate polarization," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 7(4), pages 435-460, December.
    6. Eduardo Lora & Johanna Fajardo, 2013. "Latin American Middle Classes: The Distance Between Perception and Reality," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2013), pages 33-60, August.
    7. Radhouane FILALI & Anis BOUABID, 2016. "Profils Et Déterminants Socioéconomiques De La Classe Moyenne En Tunisie," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 44, pages 79-101.
    8. Popli, Gurleen, 2006. "The rising wage inequality in Mexico, 1984-2000: A distributional analysis," MPRA Paper 399, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2006.
    9. Leonel Muinelo-Gallo & Oriol Roca-Sagalés, 2017. "Long-term effects of fiscal policy in Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 17-02, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
    10. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Echevin, Damien, 2005. "Bi-polarization comparisons," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 249-258, May.
    11. Steven Pressman, 2006. "The Decline of the Middle Class: An International Perspective," LIS Working papers 280, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    12. Chiara GIGLIARANO & Karl MOSLER, 2009. "Measuring middle-class decline in one and many attributes," Working Papers 333, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    13. Francesca Castellani & Gwenn Parent & Jannet Zenteno, 2014. "The Latin American Middle Class: Fragile After All?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 87419, Inter-American Development Bank.

    More about this item


    Income; Middle Income;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution


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