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The Elite and the Marginalised: an Analysis of Public Spending on Mass Education in the Indian States

  • Sarmistha Pal


  • Sugata Ghosh


In the context of strikingly low literacy rates among Indian women and low caste popultaion, the paper explores whether and how far the interests of the marginalised poor are undermined by the dominant elite consisting mainly of the landed and the capitalists. We distinguish the dominant elite from the minority elite (i.e., elected women and low caste representatives in the ruling government) and also the marginalised as measured by the state poverty rate. Results based on the Indian state-level data suggest that a higher share of land held by the top 5% of the popultaion lowers public spending on education while presence of capitalist elite, as reflected in greater degree of industrialisation enhances it, even in poor states; the landed elite thus appears to be unresponsive to the underlying poverty rate. The effect of minority representation in the government appears to have a limited impact, indicating a possibility of their non-accountability to serve their cohorts and/or a possible allinace with the dominant elite.

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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 08-15.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edb:cedidp:08-15
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