The Post-Reform Narrowing of Inequality Across Castes: Evidence from the States
The past three decades have seen a sharp macroeconomic takeoff in India. How have these aggregate changes affected the economic disparity between the different social groups? We examine this issue by studying the time series evolution of the economic disparities between scheduled castes and tribes (SC/STs) and non-SC/STs during the period 1983-2005. The distinctive feature of our study is that we exploit the variation in the evolution of these indicators of disparity to determine the role played by alternative factors in accounting for the overall patterns. Broadly, we find that both aggregate growth and political empowerment of SC/STs may have played a significant role in accounting for the declining gaps between these groups during this period.
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