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Inter-Group Inequalities in Child Undernutrition in India: Group Analogue of the Gini Coefficient and Atkinson's Index


  • William Joe
  • Udaya S. Mishra
  • K. Navaneetham


Studies of undernutrition in India (and elsewhere) have focused exclusively on interpersonal inequalities, and estimates of the magnitude of inter-group inequalities are unavailable. A focus on "horizontal" , or group-based, inequalities offers vital policy insights that would be lost in an approach based purely on interpersonal inequalities. We therefore apply the group analogues of Atkinson's index and the Gini coefficient to shed light on the disproportionate burden of undernourishment borne by rural and historically vulnerable caste groups. Furthermore, the prominent determinants of inter-group disparities are identified through Blinder--Oaxaca decomposition analysis. The paper calls for explicit targeting of backward castes across the country and improved inter-sectoral collaboration to ensure equitable access to education, health care and water and sanitation, particularly across underdeveloped regions.

Suggested Citation

  • William Joe & Udaya S. Mishra & K. Navaneetham, 2013. "Inter-Group Inequalities in Child Undernutrition in India: Group Analogue of the Gini Coefficient and Atkinson's Index," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(2), pages 239-257, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:41:y:2013:i:2:p:239-257
    DOI: 10.1080/13600818.2013.796353

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sudhir Anand and Amartya Sen, 1995. "Gender Inequality in Human Development: Theories and Measurement," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-1995-01, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    2. Subramanian, S., 2005. "Reckoning Inter-group Poverty Differentials in the Measurement of Aggregate Poverty," WIDER Working Paper Series 059, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Subramanian, S., 2004. "Social Groups and Economic Poverty: A Problem in Measurement," WIDER Working Paper Series 059, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Achin Chakraborty, 2001. "The concept and measurement of group inequality," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 315, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
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