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On the identification of the “middle class”

Author

Listed:
  • Anthony B. Atkinson

    () (Nuffield College)

  • Andrea Brandolini

    () (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

The paper examines the identification of the “middle class” using data from LIS and LWS. It first considers definitions based purely on income, examining the rationale for different approaches and illustrating the implications for changes over time. It argues that the concept of “class” requires the examination of other dimensions beyond income. The paper considers the role of property and, drawing on the sociological literature, of occupations.

Suggested Citation

  • Anthony B. Atkinson & Andrea Brandolini, 2011. "On the identification of the “middle class”," Working Papers 217, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2011-217
    as

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    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2011-217.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Burkhauser, Richard V, et al, 1999. "Testing the Significance of Income Distribution Changes over the 1980s Business Cycle: A Cross-National Comparison," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(3), pages 253-272, May-June.
    2. Beach, Charles M. & Chaykowski, Richard P. & Slotsve, George A., 1997. "Inequality and polarization of male earnings in the United States, 1968-1990," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 135-151.
    3. Branko Milanovic & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 2002. "Decomposing World Income Distribution: Does The World Have A Middle Class?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(2), pages 155-178, June.
    4. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2008. "What Is Middle Class about the Middle Classes around the World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 3-28, Spring.
    5. Markus M. Grabka & Joachim R. Frick, 2008. "The Shrinking German Middle Class: Signs of Long-Term Polarization in Disposable Income?," Weekly Report, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 4(4), pages 21-27.
    6. Andrea Brandolini & Silvia Magri & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2010. "Asset-based measurement of poverty," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2), pages 267-284.
    7. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2007. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 118-133, February.
    8. Marcelo Medeiros, 2006. "The Rich and the Poor: The Construction of an Affluence Line from the Poverty Line," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 78(1), pages 1-18, August.
    9. repec:mes:jeciss:v:41:y:2007:i:1:p:181-200 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Bluestone, Barry & Harrison, Bennett, 1988. "The Growth of Low-Wage Employment: 1963-86," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 124-128, May.
    11. Andreas Peichl, 2007. "Measuring richness," German Stata Users' Group Meetings 2007 06, Stata Users Group.
    12. Michal Brzezinski, 2010. "Income Affluence in Poland," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 99(2), pages 285-299, November.
    13. Joseph Eisenhauer, 2008. "An Economic Definition of the Middle Class," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 103-113, January.
    14. Antonio Estache & D. Leipziger, 2009. "Stuck in the Middle: Is Fiscal Policy Failing the Middle Class?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/44102, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    class structure; income distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution

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