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The Changing Contours of Intergroup Disparities and the Role of Preferential Policies in a Globalizing World- Evidence from India

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  • Ashwini Deshpande

    (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics)

  • Rajesh Ramachandran

    (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Goethe University, Frankfurt)

Abstract

How persistent are traditional socioeconomic hierarchies in the face of marketization, significant structural shifts in the economy, and increased political representation of lower-ranked groups, and do preferential policies have a role in addressing these inequities among social groups? We answer these questions in the context of India by comparing successive age cohorts of three broad social groups - Scheduled Castes and Tribes (SC-STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and "Others" (proxy for upper castes) - and provide the first disaggregated picture of the evolution of inter-caste disparities since Indian independence in 1947. Based on data from the National Sample Survey (NSS), our results show convergence in terms of literacy and primary education. However, in terms of access to higher education, white-collar jobs, average household expenditure and daily wages, we find evidence of divergence over time. As the NSS does not directly contain data on beneficiaries of affirmative action, we implement an identification strategy that exploits the fact that access to preferential policies are jointly determined by both the age and the social group of the individual. The first- and second-order effects of affirmative action show that extending job quotas to OBCs in 1993 had direct positive effects on access to government jobs, as well as indirect effects on secondary school attainment.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:267
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ashwini Deshpande, 2016. "Double jeopardy? Caste, affirmative action, and stigma," WIDER Working Paper Series 071, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. 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.
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    5. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    6. Ashwini Deshpande & Rajesh Ramachandran, 2016. "Dominant or Backward? Political Economy of the Demand for Quotas by Jats, Patels and Marathas," Working papers 268, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    7. Bertrand, Marianne & Hanna, Rema & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2010. "Affirmative action in education: Evidence from engineering college admissions in India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 16-29, February.
    8. Ashwini Deshpande, 2007. "Overlapping Identities under Liberalization: Gender and Caste in India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 735-760, July.
    9. Harry J. Holzer & David Neumark, 2000. "What Does Affirmative Action Do?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(2), pages 240-271, January.
    10. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    11. Mehtabul Azam & Vipul Bhatt, 2015. "Like Father, Like Son? Intergenerational Educational Mobility in India," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(6), pages 1929-1959, December.
    12. Deshpande, Ashwani, 2011. "The Grammar of Caste: Economic Discrimination in Contemporary India," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198072034.
    13. Zacharias, Ajit & Vakulabharanam, Vamsi, 2011. "Caste Stratification and Wealth Inequality in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 1820-1833.
    14. Deshpande, Ashwini & Weisskopf, Thomas E., 2014. "Does Affirmative Action Reduce Productivity? A Case Study of the Indian Railways," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 169-180.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ashwini Deshpande & Rajesh Ramachandran, 2016. "Dominant or Backward? Political Economy of the Demand for Quotas by Jats, Patels and Marathas," Working papers 268, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    2. Mosse, David, 2018. "Caste and development: Contemporary perspectives on a structure of discrimination and advantage," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 422-436.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    affirmative action; quotas; caste; India; education; occupation;

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)

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