Latin%20American%20Middle%20Classes%3A%20The%20Distance%20between%20Perception%20and%20Reality

Working Papers

Latin American Middle Classes: The Distance between Perception and Reality


CODE: IDB-WP-275
AUTHOR(s): Fajardo, Deisy Johanna , Lora, Eduardo
PUBLISHED: December 2011
LANGUAGE: English
RELATED TOPICS: Poverty Reduction and Labor
DOWNLOAD FILE IN: English

Abstract:

This paper compares objective and subjective definitions of the middle-class using data from the 2007 World Gallup Poll. Seven objective income-based definitions of social class are contrasted with a self-perceived social status measure. Mismatches between the objective and subjective classifications are largest when the objective definition is based on median incomes. Mismatches arise because self-perceived social status is associated not just with income, but also with personal capabilities, interpersonal relations, financial and material assets, and perceptions of economic insecurity. Objective definitions of the middle class based on absolute incomes provide the fewest mismatches and the most accurate differentiation of the middle class from other classes.

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