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In search of the elusive Chinese urban middle class: An exploratory analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Céline Bonnefond

    (GREThA - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Matthieu Clément

    (GREThA - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • François Combarnous

    () (GREThA - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

This paper aims to identify and characterize the Chinese urban middle class. We propose to improve the description of the middle class using an innovative approach combining an economic approach (based on income) and a sociological approach (based on education and occupation). The empirical investigations conducted as part of this research are based on the China Health and Nutrition Survey (2009). First, we define the middle income class as households with an annual per capita income between 10,000 yuan and the 95th percentile. On this basis, approximately fifty percent of urban households may be said to belong to the middle class. Second, we use information on employment and education to characterize the heterogeneity of the middle income class. Using clustering methods, we identify four groups: (i) the elderly and the inactive middle class, mainly composed of pensioners; (ii) the old middle class, composed of self-employed workers; (iii) the marginal middle class, composed of skilled and unskilled workers; and (iv) the new middle class, composed of highly educated wage earners in the public sector. We show that the different groups have distinctive features based on variables such as housing and household appliances and equipment.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Céline Bonnefond & Matthieu Clément & François Combarnous, 2015. "In search of the elusive Chinese urban middle class: An exploratory analysis," Post-Print hal-01135654, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01135654
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01135654
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Levasseur, Pierre, 2015. "Causal effects of socioeconomic status on central adiposity risks: Evidence using panel data from urban Mexico," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 136, pages 165-174.
    2. Bonnefond, Céline & Clément, Matthieu, 2014. "Social class and body weight among Chinese urban adults: The role of the middle classes in the nutrition transition," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 22-29.
    3. Céline BONNEFOND & Matthieu CLEMENT, 2015. "Does social class affect nutrition knowledge and food preferences among Chinese urban adults?," Working Papers 2014-2015_10, CATT - UPPA - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, revised Apr 2015.
    4. LEVASSEUR Pierre, 2015. "Causal effects of socioeconomic status on central adiposity: Evidence using panel data from urban Mexico," Cahiers du GREThA 2015-09, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    5. Tsiry ANDRIANAMPIARIVO, 2014. "Moderate Prosperity, an adaptation of the Middle Class concept to a Malagasy rural area: the case of Itasy," Cahiers du GREThA 2014-20, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    elusive; analysis; middle class; China;

    JEL classification:

    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P25 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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