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Is Education the Panacea for Economic Deprivation of Muslims? Evidence from Wage Earners in India, 1987-2004

  • Sumon Kumar Bhaumik


  • Manisha Chakrabarty


Few researchers have examined the nature and determinants of earnings differentials among religious groups, and none has been undertaken in the context of conflict-prone multi-religious societies likethe one in India. We address this lacuna in the literature by examining the differences in the average (log) earnings of Hindu and Muslim wage earners in India, during the 1987-2005 period. Our results indicate that education differences between Hindu and Muslim wage earners, especially differences in the proportion of wage earners with tertiary education, are largely responsible for the differences in the average (log) earnings of the two religious groups across the years. By contrast, differences in the returns to education do not explain the aforementioned difference in average (log) earnings. Citing other evidence about persistence of educational achievements across generations, however, we argue that attempts to narrow this gap using quotas for Muslim households at educational institutions might be counterproductive from the point of view of conflict avoidance.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University in its series CEDI Discussion Paper Series with number 08-02.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edb:cedidp:08-02
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