Stuck in Tunnel: Is Globalization Muddling the Middle?

Brookings Institution Center Working Paper No. 14

37 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2001

See all articles by Nancy Birdsall

Nancy Birdsall

Center for Global Development

Carol Graham

Brookings Institution - Center on Social and Economic Dynamics; University of Maryland

Stefano Pettinato

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) - Infrastructure and Financial Markets/SDS; Brookings Institution

Date Written: August 2000

Abstract

Our objective in this paper is to assess how middle-income groups are faring with the global turn to the market. We suggest some simple measures of the middle--the size and income share of households around the median (75/125%)--and their income status relative to wealthier counterparts. Our results point to genuine distributional stress for middle-income households. They also suggest the need for new measures to capture distributional trends that are masked by aggregate measures. We posit that the fate of those in the middle merits new attention, as their political support and economic participation are critical to sustainable market-oriented growth, and poverty reduction in the long-term.

Keywords: middle income, income distribution, globalization

JEL Classification: A14, D31, D63

Suggested Citation

Birdsall, Nancy and Graham, Carol and Pettinato, Stefano, Stuck in Tunnel: Is Globalization Muddling the Middle? (August 2000). Brookings Institution Center Working Paper No. 14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=277162 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.277162

Nancy Birdsall (Contact Author)

Center for Global Development ( email )

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Carol Graham

Brookings Institution - Center on Social and Economic Dynamics ( email )

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University of Maryland ( email )

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Stefano Pettinato

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) - Infrastructure and Financial Markets/SDS ( email )

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Washington, DC 20577
United States
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Brookings Institution ( email )

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