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Who Participates in Higher Education in India? Rethinking the Role of Affirmative Action


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  • Basant, Rakesh
  • Sen Gitanjali


This paper explores how socio-economic, especially socio-religious affiliations, and demographic characteristics of individuals influence participation in higher education (HE). It argues that appropriate measures of ‘deficits’ in participation should inform the nature and scope of affirmative action. The analytical and policy relevance of distinguishing between stock and flow measures, the differences in eligibility for HE across groups are emphasized. After controlling for relevant factors, the ‘hierarchy of participation in higher education’ that emerges from detailed analysis suggests that deficits for some marginalized groups are not high enough to justify reservation for these groups on the basis of low participation.

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Paper provided by Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department in its series IIMA Working Papers with number WP2009-11-01.

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Handle: RePEc:iim:iimawp:8345

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  1. Sujoy Chakravarty & E. Somanathan, 2008. "Discrimination in an elite labour market? Job placements at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India 08-01, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  2. K. Sundaram, 2010. "On Backwardness and Fair Access to Higher Education in India: Some Results from NSS 55th Round Surveys 1999-2000," Working Papers id:2839, eSocialSciences.
  3. Deshpande, Ashwini, 2001. "Caste at Birth? Redefining Disparity in India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 130-44, February.
  4. Sundaram K, 2008. "Fair Access To Higher Education Re-Visited:Some Results For Social And Religious Groups from NSS 61st Round Employment Unemployment Survey, 2004-05," Working Papers id:1323, eSocialSciences.
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Cited by:
  1. Basant, Rakesh & Sen Gitanjali, . "Parental Education as a Criterion for Affirmative Action in Higher Education: A Preliminary Analysis," IIMA Working Papers, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department WP2012-01-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  2. Basant, Rakesh, . "Education and Employment among Muslims in India: An Analysis of Patterns and Trends," IIMA Working Papers, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department WP2012-09-03, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  3. Bhupal, Ganita & Sam, Abdoul G., 2012. "Education and health outcomes for social minorities in India: An analysis using SUR model," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 124840, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.


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