Revisiting the Middle-Class Myth: Evidence From A Cross-Country Analysis of African Social Progress - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Revisiting the Middle-Class Myth: Evidence From A Cross-Country Analysis of African Social Progress

Ricardo Nogales and Reham Rizk

September, 2017


27 pages

O5. Economywide Country Studies
O1. Economic Development

We analyze the relationship between the expansion of middle class in 42 African countries and the social progress they made. We account for material and non-material aspects of progress instead of relying on GDP as the evaluative space, and assess their connection to four absolute measures of middle class. Using a panel dataset, we show that expanding developing and higher middle classes contributes greatly to material aspects of progress; less significant effects are found on non-material aspects. We find upper limits to the expansion of middle class, as structural characteristics may prevent these people to be effective catalysts of progress.


نقوم بتحليل العلاقة بين توسع الطبقة المتوسطة في 42 بلدا أفريقيا والتقدم الاجتماعي الذي أحرزته. نحسب الجوانب المادية وغير المادية للتقدم بدلا من الاعتماد على الناتج المحلي الإجمالي كمساحة تقييمية، وتقييم صلتها بأربعة مقاييس مطلقة من الطبقة الوسطى. وباستخدام مجموعة من البيانات، نبين أن التوسع في الطبقات المتوسطة والطبقة العليا يسهم إلى حد كبير في الجوانب المادية للتقدم؛ تم العثور على آثار أقل أهمية على الجوانب غير المادية. إننا نجد حدودا أعلى لتوسيع الطبقة الوسطى، حيث أن الخصائص الهيكلية قد تمنع هؤلاء الناس من أن يكونوا حافزين فعالين للتقدم

Ricardo Nogales

Research Associates

Reham Rizk

Assistant Professor, British University in Egypt



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