- مبلغ: ۸۶,۰۰۰ تومان
- مبلغ: ۹۱,۰۰۰ تومان
Middle class (MC) consumers’ demand for a better quality of life continues to drive economic growth in emerging markets (EMs). Given their importance for the dynamically transforming economy in EMs, the present study examines the extent to which consumption patterns are associated with social stratification and mobility among China’s MC consumers. Building on the extant literature that links material and culture consumption to social stratification, we construct a typology of MC households in contemporary China, identifying the factors by which these newly emerging MC households vary or are similar in their consumption behavior. We find that, of the three widely recognized stratifying dimensions (income, education, and occupation), educational attainment is the strongest indicator explaining the variance in culture consumption among the MC households, while occupation plays a relatively weak role in explaining their consumption patterns. Among the alternative pathways into the social class position of MC, our findings suggest that merely becoming wealthy is negatively related to culture consumption of these new MC households while becoming MC defined by educational attainment or belonging to the core middle class (whose status is achieved on all of the three stratifying dimensions) has a profound effect on both material and culture consumption. The findings support the conclusion that social stratification and mobility are of importance for China’s MC consumers in shaping and maintaining their lifestyles and consumption patterns.
The present study demonstrates that class structure can to a great extent explain consumption patterns among China’s middle class households. Specifically, after controlling for household income, family size, CCP membership and regional origins, the Chinese core MC and MC households defined by educational attainment are found to exhibit a relatively high level of both material and culture consumption. By contrast, occupation plays a relatively weak role in explaining the consumption pattern of the newly emerging MC households in contemporary China. With respect to social mobility effects, we find that merely becoming wealthy (e.g., ‘‘ bao fa hu’’, a Chinese phrase which means ‘‘nouveau riche’’ or ‘‘explosively rich’’) is negatively related to culture consumption. Attaining the status of middle class by gaining a certain level of education is of greater relevance as the upward mobility into MC positively impacts material and culture consumption. So do the core middle class households. Our findings suggest that, among the three dimensions, education is the single most powerful indicator relative to income and occupation in explaining both material and culture consumption of China’s emerging middle class households.