Economic class and labour market inclusion: Poor and middle class workers in developing Asia and the Pacific

This paper examines quantitative trends and characteristics of the poor, near poor and middle class working population in developing Asia and the Pacific. With special focus on Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Viet Nam, it provides empirical evidence for policies that would help reduce working poverty, foster middle class jobs and promote inclusive labour market.


This paper presents trends and estimates of the poor, near poor and middle class working population in developing Asia and the Pacific. It finds that since 1991, working poverty has fallen remarkably while middle class jobs now account for nearly two-fifths of all employment in the region (671 milion middle class workers). The paper also applies a class-based framework for assessing in equality in the labour market, with a special focus on Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Viet Nam. It provides empirical evidence that economic participation is inversely related to affluence, while educational attainment and access to better quality jobs both increase with higher economic class status.