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Income InequalityEconomic Disparities and the Middle Class in Affluent Countries$
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Janet C. Gornick and Markus Jantti

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804778244

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804778244.001.0001

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On the Identification of the Middle Class

On the Identification of the Middle Class

(p.77) Chapter Two On the Identification of the Middle Class
Income Inequality

Anthony B. Atkinson

Andrea Brandolini

Stanford University Press

This chapter examines the identification of the “middle class” using data from the LIS and the LWS Databases. It first considers definitions based purely on income, where class limits are set either in the people space or in the income space. In the former, the size of the middle class is fixed and attention is focused on changes in the income share; in the latter, the varying population size is the main concern. The chapter examines the rationale for these different approaches and illustrates their implications for changes over time. It argues that the concept of “class” requires the examination of dimensions beyond income. The chapter considers the role of property and, drawing on the sociological literature, of occupation.

Keywords:   middle class, class stratification, income, property, occupational structure, inequality, polarization, Luxembourg Income Study, Luxembourg Wealth Study

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