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Is There Such Thing as Middle Class Values? Class Differences, Values and Political Orientations in Latin America

Listed author(s):
  • López-Calva, Luis-Felipe

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • Rigolini, Jamele

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • Torche, Florencia

    ()

    (New York University)

Middle class values have long been perceived as drivers of social cohesion and growth. In this paper we investigate the relation between class (measured by the position in the income distribution), values, and political orientations using comparable values surveys for six Latin American countries. We find that both a continuous measure of income and categorical measures of income-based class are robustly associated with values. Both income and class tend to display a similar association to values and political orientations as education, although differences persist in some important dimensions. Overall, we do not find strong evidence of any "middle class particularism": values appear to gradually shift with income, and middle class values lay between the ones of poorer and richer classes. If any, the only peculiarity of middle class values is moderation. We also find changes in values across countries to be of much larger magnitude than the ones dictated by income, education and individual characteristics, suggesting that individual values vary primarily within bounds dictated by each society.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6292.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6292
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  1. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1997. "Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk, Diversification, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 709-751, August.
  2. Manuel Arellano & Costas Meghir, 1992. "Female Labour Supply and On-the-Job Search: An Empirical Model Estimated Using Complementary Data Sets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 537-559.
  3. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2008. "Occupational Choice and the Spirit of Capitalism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 747-793.
  4. Rebbecca Reed-Arthurs & Steven M. Sheffrin, 2010. "Understanding the Public's Attitudes towards Redistribution through Taxation," Working Papers 1005, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  5. Guillermo Cruces & Luis Felipe López Calva & Diego Battistón, 2011. "Down and Out or Up and In? Polarization-Based Measures of the Middle Class for Latin America," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0113, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
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