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Caste Stratification and Wealth Inequality in India

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  • Zacharias, Ajit
  • Vakulabharanam, Vamsi

Abstract

We analyze the relationship between wealth inequality and caste divisions in India using nationally representative surveys on household wealth conducted during 1991–92 and 2002–03. According to our findings, the groups in India that are generally considered disadvantaged (known as Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes) have, as one would expect, substantially lower wealth than the “forward” caste groups, while the Other Backward Classes and non-Hindus occupy positions in the middle. Using the ANOGI decomposition technique, we estimate that between-caste inequality accounted for about 13% of overall wealth inequality in 2002–03. The stratification parameters indicate that the forward caste Hindus overlap little with the other caste groups, while the latter have significantly higher degrees of overlap with one another and with the overall population. Using this method, we are also able to comment on the emergence and strengthening of a “creamy layer,” or relatively well-off group, among the disadvantaged groups, especially the Scheduled Tribes.

Suggested Citation

  • Zacharias, Ajit & Vakulabharanam, Vamsi, 2011. "Caste Stratification and Wealth Inequality in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 1820-1833.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:10:p:1820-1833
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2011.04.026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ashwini Deshpande & Rajesh Ramachandran, 2013. "How Backward are the Other Backward Classes? Changing Contours of Caste Disadvantage in India," Working Papers id:5422, eSocialSciences.
    2. repec:eee:wdevel:v:103:y:2018:i:c:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ashwini Deshpande & Rajesh Ramachandran, 2016. "The Changing Contours of Inter group Disparities and the Role of Preferential Policies in a Globalizing World: Evidence from India," Working Papers id:11519, eSocialSciences.
    4. Ashwini Deshpande & Rajesh Ramachandran, 2016. "The Changing Contours of Intergroup Disparities and the Role of Preferential Policies in a Globalizing World- Evidence from India," Working papers 267, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    5. Abigail Weitzman, 2014. "Women's and Men's Relative Status and Intimate Partner Violence in India," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 40(1), pages 55-75, March.
    6. Girard, Victoire, 2018. "Don’t Touch My Road. Evidence from India on Affirmative Action And Everyday Discrimination," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 1-13.
    7. Amit Basole & Deepankar Basu, 2015. "Non-Food Expenditures and Consumption Inequality in India," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2015-06, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.

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