Class Reproduction of the Upper Middle Class (Top 20%)

  • Péter MihályiEmail author
  • Iván Szelényi


The wealth of billionaires (the top 0.1%) is less of the authors’ concern than the living standards of the “Joneses”. People are likely to be more interested how the gap between them and people they know is increasing. It seems that entry/exit into and from the top 0.1% is relatively open. Many of the wealthiest people from the United States to China, Russia, or Central Europe come from humble background. But, can we detect a trend for the upper middle class (top 20%) to become increasingly closed? The answer is: yes. This chapter identifies three mechanisms of the increasing closure: elite education, inheritance of wealth (chiefly real estate) and assortative mating.


Wealth Inheritance Assortative mating Elite education Credentialing Re-feudalization Patrimonial capitalism Illiberal state 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MacroeconomicsCorvinus University of BudapestBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Central European UniversityBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.New York UniversityAbu DhabiUAE

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