Andy Sumner has stirred the pot on the future of foreign aid with his recent study on who and where the world’s poor really are. That has given new energy to the recent round of analyses by development economists on who and where the world’s middle class members are and why they matter too, including for the poor. Among others, see: Ravallion and Banerjee and Duflo (though their definition really boils down to who is not poor and not too rich), Milanovic , yours truly, the Asian Development Bank, and soon Francisco Ferreira and his classy group of economists in the Latin America and Caribbean region of the World Bank.
Now Andy and I are thinking about trying to define and “find” the group described in this column by journalist and author Doug Saunders: the catalytic class. They are not necessarily comfortably middle class – but they want and benefit from clear rules of the game. Let us know what you think and whether you agree with us that all these new classifications matter – ultimately for understanding and accelerating development.