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Is Caste Destiny? Occupational Diversification among Dalits in Rural India

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  • Ira Gang
  • Kunal Sen
  • Myeong Su Yun

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Abstract

he caste system – a system of elaborately stratified social hierarchy – distinguishes India from most other societies. Among the most distinctive factors of the caste system is the close link between castes and occupations, especially in rural India, with Dalits or Scheduled Castes (SC) clustered in occupations that were the least well paid and most degrading in terms of manual labour. Along with the Scheduled Tribes (STs), the SCs have the highest incidence of poverty in India, with poverty rates that are much higher than the rest of the population. Since independence, the Indian government has enacted affirmative action policies in educational institutions and public sector employment for SCs and STs. In addition, in the more populous states of India, political parties have emerged that are strongly pro-SC in their orientation in the more populous states of India. Using five rounds of all- India employment data from the National Sample Survey quinquennial surveys from 1983 to 2004 an assessment of whether these political and social changes has led to a weakening of the relationship between low caste status and occupational segregation that has existed historically in India. [IZA Discussion Paper No. 6295]. URL:[http://ftp.iza.org/dp6295.pdf].

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by eSocialSciences in its series Working Papers with number id:4769.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:4769

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Keywords: Caste Destiny; Occupational Diversification; dalits; rural India; manual labour; castes; occupations; Scheduled Tribes (STs); Scheduled Castes; SCs; educational institutions; social changes; political; National Sample Survey; public sector; poverty; farmers; artisans;

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  1. Abhijit Banerjee & Rohini Somanathan, 2004. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 04-17, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  2. Lanjouw, Peter & Murgai, Rinku, 2009. "Poverty decline, agricultural wages, and non-farm employment in rural India : 1983-2004," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4858, The World Bank.
  3. Ralitza Dimova & Kunal Sen, 2010. "Is household income diversification a means of survival or a means of accumulation? Panel data evidence from Tanzania," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 12210, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  4. Abowd, John M & Killingsworth, Mark R, 1984. "Do Minority-White Unemployment Differences Really Exist?," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(1), pages 64-72, January.
  5. Siwan Anderson, 2011. "Caste as an Impediment to Trade," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 239-63, January.
  6. Vani K. Borooah, 2005. "Caste, Inequality, and Poverty in India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 399-414, 08.
  7. Hnatkovska, Viktoria & Lahiri, Amartya & Paul, Sourabh Bikash, 2010. "Castes and Labor Mobility," Economics working papers viktoria_hnatkovska-2010-, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 22 Oct 2010.
  8. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 1995. "Income portfolios in rural Ethiopia and Tanzania: choices and constraints," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1995-12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Ira N. Gang & Kunal Sen & Myeong-Su Yun, 2008. "Poverty In Rural India: Caste And Tribe," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(1), pages 50-70, 03.
  10. Deshpande, Ashwini, 2001. "Caste at Birth? Redefining Disparity in India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 130-44, February.
  11. Francine D. Blau & Wallace E. Hendricks, 1979. "Occupational Segregation by Sex: Trends and Prospects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(2), pages 197-210.
  12. Vegard Iversen & Adriaan Kalwij & Arjan Verschoor & Amaresh Dubey, 2014. "Caste Dominance and Economic Performance in Rural India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(3), pages 423 - 457.
  13. Rohini Pande, 2003. "Can Mandated Political Representation Increase Policy Influence for Disadvantaged Minorities? Theory and Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1132-1151, September.
  14. Richard Palmer-Jones & Kunal Sen, 2003. "What has luck got to do with it? A regional analysis of poverty and agricultural growth in rural India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 1-31.
  15. Kijima, Yoko, 2006. "Caste and Tribe Inequality: Evidence from India, 1983-1999," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(2), pages 369-404, January.
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