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Working Papers

Is There Such a Thing As Middle Class Values? - Working Paper 286

Jamele Rigolini and Florencia Torche
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Charles Kenny: Where Is the Virtue in the Middle Class?

Middle class values have long been perceived as drivers of social cohesion and growth. In this paper, the authors investigate the relation between class (measured by the position in the income distribution), values, and political orientations using comparable values surveys for six Latin American countries.

They find that measures of income are robustly associated with values. Both income and class tend to display a similar association to values and political orientations as education, although differences persist in some important dimensions.

Overall, they do not find strong evidence of any “middle class particularism,” but rather that values shift gradually with income, with middle class values between those of poorer and richer classes. If any, the only peculiarity of middle class values is moderation.