IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Is India Really a Country of Low Income-Inequality? Observations from Eight Villages

Listed author(s):
  • Madhura Swaminathan

    (Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata,

  • Vikas Rawal

    (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.)

There is a misconception in the literature that income distribution in India is less unequal than, for instance, in China or the countries of Latin America. This misconception is based on a comparison of like with unlike. Studies of income distribution for most countries are based as they should be on household income data, while corresponding studies of income distribution for India are based on household consumption expenditure data, and it is well known that consumption expenditure, by its very nature, is less unequally distributed than income. This paper examines levels of household income inequality in rural India using data from in-depth village surveys conducted in eight villages from four States of the country. Although the data-set is relatively small, the exercise is rather unique because of the lack of regular survey data on household incomes for rural India. The Gini coefficient is used as a summary measure of income inequality. Our estimates show high values of the Gini (close to 0.60) in these eight villages; these are comparable to levels reported for Latin America. Of the eight villages, inequality was relatively high in the three canal-irrigated villages.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Review of Agrarian Studies in its journal Review of Agrarian Studies.

Volume (Year): 1 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January-June)
Pages: 1-22

in new window

Handle: RePEc:fas:journl:v:1:y:2011:i:1:p:1-22
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fas:journl:v:1:y:2011:i:1:p:1-22. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Prof. VK Ramachandran)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.