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The Impact of Middle Class Economic Strength on Civil Liberties Performance and Domestic and External Peace

Description: Using data for 93 countries from 1972 through 2001 in cross-national analysis, this study compares the relative economic strength of a country's middle-class with its civil liberties performance and its history of domestic and external conflict. For purposes of this analysis, the relative strength of a country's middle-class is determined by multiplying the square root of a country's gross domestic product per capita by the percentage of income distributed to the middle 60 % of the population (middle class income share). Comparisons between this measure of per capita income distributed (PCID) and several other indicators show the strength of the relationship between PCID and civil liberties performance and domestic and external conflict. In the same manner, comparisons are made for the middle class income share (MCIS) alone. The countries are also divided by level of PCID into 3 world classes of 31 countries each for additional comparisons. In tests using bivariate correlations, the relationships between PCID and MCIS are statistically significant with better civil liberties performance and fewer internal conflicts. With multivariate regression the relationship between PCID and civil liberties performance is statistically significant but not for PCID and internal conflict. As expected, in both correlations and regression between PCID and external conflict, variables related to power dominate. However, when the countries are divided into world classes by level of PCID, the eleven countries with the highest level of PCID have had no internal or external conflict since 1972. Moreover, there is no within group conflict for countries in either the upper or middle classes of countries based on their level of PCID. The between group conflict does include democracies.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Stedman, Joseph B.
Partner: UNT Libraries