Specialists discuss Middle Class definitions and values
Brasilia , 19 April 2012
The Seminar “Middle Class in Latin America” hosted by the Internacional Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) and the Secretariat for Strategic Affairs (SAE), last April 19 in Brasília, presented a new approach to the definition of middle class and discussed the middle class values.
According to the World Bank researchers, the middle class concept is a multidimensional and broad concept that has its origins in Economics and becomes complex when approached from sociology. From an economic approach, middle class is defined in terms of a measurable characteristics.
Mr. Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva highlighted that we need clarity on the concept of what is middle class. The lack of a clear conceptual framework results in a descriptive statistics rather than on meaningful analysis. His proposal centers in the concept of vulnerability to define middle class, people who are not vulnerable to poverty are then considered part of the middle class.
Mr. Lopez-Calva and Mr. Jamele Rigoli set up a line of $ 10 a day and per capita obtained with the approach of vulnerability to indicate middle class belonging; those falling below that limit are considered poor or lower class. Their research shows that people who earn between 4 to 10$ a day considered themselves to be part of the lower class instead of middle class.
Mr Jamele Rigoli presentation focused on the middle class values which have long been perceived as drivers of social cohesion and growth yet there is very solid evidence on this. His research proved that no strong evidence can support the middle class particularism. The perception of middle class values according countries and values appear to gradually shift with income.
The last decade has seen the expansion of the middle class in the Latin American region for the firs time in the sense that people are not vulnerable to poverty anymore. However the economists conclude their presentation by questioning if a real middle class exists in Latin America or if people belong to another class, neither lower class nor middle class.
Presentations available below:
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