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Dynamics of caste-based deprivation in child under-nutrition in India


  • Rudra Narayan Mishra

    (Centre for Development Studies
    Institute of Economic Growth)


Nutritional deprivation among Indian children is one of the parameters of underdevelopment mentioned in development discourse in recent times. And such deprivation is more often associated with well known socio-economic indicators of deprivation; prominent among them is caste, which ranks the society into a hierarchy in terms of benefit and welfare. Though caste dimension has been frequently considered as a category of understanding deprivation, it is rare to find explicit disadvantage of caste in what is said as transforming capabilities into functioning. While caste disadvantage in any outcome shows a systematic pattern, it is never made clear as to what is the dynamics of this disadvantage in terms of characteristics bearing an association with a given outcome. This paper makes an attempt in illustrating the dynamics of caste-based deprivation considering the case of child under-nutrition. It essentially demonstrates the patterns of differentials in nutrition according to other potential correlates of under-nutrition within SC/ST and others and comments on the limits of translating a given set of capabilities in to functioning/outcome (child nutrition here). It finds that while deprivation gap according to potential correlates is higher in general compared with SC/STs, there is clear demonstration of differential translation of capabilities like education, residential status, work status into outcome like nutrition among the SC/STs vis-…-vis the others. The results are also confirmed with application of a logit model. The study uses the data from National Family Health Survey report (NFHS-2, 1998-99) for the purpose of this illustration.

Suggested Citation

  • Rudra Narayan Mishra, 2006. "Dynamics of caste-based deprivation in child under-nutrition in India," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 380, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:cdswpp:380

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dibyendu S. Maiti, 2005. "Organisational morphology of rural industries in liberalised India: A study of West Bengal," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 371, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
    2. Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 1996. "Comparative Advantage, Information and the Allocation of Workers to Tasks: Evidence from an Agricultural Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 347-374.
    3. Engle, Patrice L. & Menon, Purnima & Haddad, Lawrence, 1999. "Care and Nutrition: Concepts and Measurement," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1309-1337, August.
    4. Sunil Mani, 2005. "Keeping pace with globalisation innovation capability in Korea's telecommunications equipment industry," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 370, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
    5. Angus Deaton & Jean Dreze, 2002. "Poverty and Inequality in India: A Re-Examination," Working Papers 184, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    6. Smith, Lisa C. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 1999. "Explaining child malnutrition in developing countries," FCND discussion papers 60, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Smith, Lisa C. & Ruel, Marie T. & Ndiaye, Aida, 2004. "Why is child malnutrition lower in urban than rural areas?," FCND discussion papers 176, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Cited by:

    1. Kshitij Chaudhary, 2015. "The effect of political decentralisation and affirmative action on Multidimensional Poverty Index: evidence from Indian States," Journal of Social and Economic Development, Springer;Institute for Social and Economic Change, vol. 17(1), pages 27-49, April.

    More about this item


    Health; Under-nutrition; Child Under-nutrition; Caste; Scheduled Caste; Scheduled Tribe; Inequality; Deprivation; India;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty


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