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How Backward are the Other Backward Classes? Changing Contours of Caste Disadvantage in India


  • Ashwini Deshpande

    (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi, India)

  • Rajesh Ramachandran

    (Department of Microeconomics and Management Goethe University, Frankfurt)


We trace changes in standard-of-living indicators across the three broad caste groups in India in order to comment on the evolution of the relative ranking of "Other Backward Classes" (OBCs). Employing a difference-in-diffrences strategy and analyzing individuals born between 1926-1985, we and convergence in primary and secondary education, but continued divergence in higher education. Younger cohorts of OBCs converge with upper castes in wages and white-collar jobs. The extension of affirmative action increases the share of OBCs with government jobs and secondary education, though increased political representation does not seem to be correlated with better outcomes.

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  • Ashwini Deshpande & Rajesh Ramachandran, 2013. "How Backward are the Other Backward Classes? Changing Contours of Caste Disadvantage in India," Working papers 233, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:233

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Viktoria Hnatkovska & Amartya Lahiri & Sourabh Paul, 2012. "Castes and Labor Mobility," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 274-307, April.
    2. Ashwini Deshpande, 2007. "Overlapping Identities under Liberalization: Gender and Caste in India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 735-760.
    3. Ben Jann, 2008. "The Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition for linear regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(4), pages 453-479, December.
    4. Zacharias, Ajit & Vakulabharanam, Vamsi, 2011. "Caste Stratification and Wealth Inequality in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 1820-1833.
    5. Deshpande, Ashwani, 2011. "The Grammar of Caste: Economic Discrimination in Contemporary India," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198072034, June.
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    1. repec:eee:wdevel:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:331-344 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Deshpande, Ashwini & Goel, Deepti & Khanna, Shantanu, 2018. "Bad Karma or Discrimination? Male–Female Wage Gaps Among Salaried Workers in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 331-344.
    3. Subha Mani & Saurabh Singhal & Smriti Sharma & Utteeyo Dasgupta, 2016. "Caste differences in behaviour and personality Evidence from India," WIDER Working Paper Series 060, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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