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Caste and Class


  • Bharti Nandwani


This article revisits the question of intersection of caste and class in India by employing the concept of cross-cuttingness. Using five rounds of the National Sample Survey, we find that disadvantaged groups are heavily concentrated in the lower economic class category and this pattern has changed only marginally over time. Results also show that disadvantaged castes possess smaller landholdings and mainly reside in rural areas, which offer less economic opportunities as compared to urban. These findings point that for some caste groups in India access to economic opportunities is still correlated with their caste, even after decades of affirmative action. However, an encouraging finding is that the impact of caste on education outcomes is progressively falling over time. This has the potential to lower the influence of caste on the attainment of future economic opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Bharti Nandwani, 2016. "Caste and Class," Review of Market Integration, India Development Foundation, vol. 8(3), pages 135-151, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:revmar:v:8:y:2016:i:3:p:135-151

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    Caste; class; cross-cuttingness; intersection; disadvantaged groups; consumption expenditure;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population


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