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Being “Middle-Class” in Latin America

Author

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  • Francesca Castellani
  • Gwenn Parent

Abstract

This paper joins the debate on the size of the middle class in Latin America, analysing its structure and characteristics. The paper investigates inter-class mobility potential and its evolution over time in the case of selected countries. As a result of the estimations, we find that Latin American countries have smaller middle classes than OECD countries. Moreover, this comparison shows that, while middle-class upward mobility potential is not very different, middle class resilience is higher in OECD countries. This suggests that particular attention should be paid to mitigating the impact of economic reversal on middle-class families, as they are more vulnerable to falling into poverty. This analysis provides a tool to identify the features of the middle class that need to be promoted by policy makers to foster middle-class resilience and enhance its stabilising role in society. Ce papier rejoint le débat sur la taille de la classe moyenne en Amérique Latine, en étudiant sa structure et ses caractéristiques, ainsi que le potentiel de mobilité et son évolution dans le temps dans un groupe de pays de la région. L’analyse démontre que la classe moyenne dans les pays d’Amérique Latine est plus petite que celle des pays de l’OCDE. Néanmoins le potentiel de mobilité à la hausse de la classe moyenne ne montre pas de différences importantes. Malgré cela, elle exhibe un risque plus élevé de retomber dans la pauvreté, dévoilant l’importance d’une politique publique en faveur de la classe moyenne.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesca Castellani & Gwenn Parent, 2011. "Being “Middle-Class” in Latin America," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 305, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:305-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kg3jcdx4jlx-en
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:idb:brikps:84533 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:idb:idbbks:6421 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jose Anchorena & Lucas Ronconi, 2012. "Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Values, and Public Policy in Argentina," Research Department Publications 4798, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    4. Céline Bonnefond & Matthieu Clément & François Combarnous, 2015. "In search of the elusive Chinese urban middle class: an exploratory analysis," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 41-59.
    5. Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), 2014. "Entrepreneurship in Latin America: A Step Up the Social Ladder?," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 84533 edited by Eduardo Lora & Francesca Castellani, February.
    6. Eduardo Lora & Francesca Castellani, 2014. "Entrepreneurship in Latin America: A Step Up the Social Ladder?," Research Department Publications IDB-BK-124, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    7. Céline Bonnefond & Matthieu Clément & François Combarnous, 2015. "In search of the elusive Chinese urban middle class: an exploratory analysis," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 41-59.
    8. Francesca Castellani & Gwenn Parent & Jannet Zenteno, 2014. "The Latin American Middle Class: Fragile After All?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 87419, Inter-American Development Bank.
    9. Eduardo Lora & Francesca Castellani, 2014. "Entrepreneurship in Latin America : A Step Up the Social Ladder?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 16347.
    10. 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

    Amérique latine; classe moyenne; inequality; inégalité; Latin America; middle class; mobilité sociale; resilience; résilience; social mobility; vulnerability; vulnérabilité;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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