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Elite Dominance and Under-Investment in Mass Education: Disparity in the Social Development of the Indian States, 1960-92

Listed author(s):
  • Pal, Sarmistha

    ()

    (University of Surrey)

  • Ghosh, Sugata

    ()

    (Brunel University)

Inter- and intra-state disparities in levels of literacy rates in India are striking, especially for the marginalized groups of women and low caste population. The present paper offers an explanation of this disparate development in terms of elite dominance that discriminates against the minority groups of people and systematically under-invests in mass education. We experiment with various indirect economic and political measures of elite dominance. Results based on the Indian state-level data for the period 1960-92 suggest that higher share of land held by the top 5% of the population (a) lowers spending on education as well as total developmental spending and (b) increases total non-developmental spending. Greater proportion of minority representations (female and low caste members) in the ruling government however fails to have any perceptible impact on development (including education) spending in our sample. This analysis also identifies land reform and poverty alleviation as two important policy instruments to erode the initial disadvantage of the marginalised people.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2852.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2852
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  1. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451.
  2. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
  3. repec:fth:oxesaf:98-8 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Andrew McKay & Sarmistha Pal, 2004. "Relationships between Household Consumption and Inequality in the Indian States," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5), pages 65-90.
  5. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Das Human Kapital," Working Papers 2000-17, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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  8. Hills, John, 2004. "Inequality and the State," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199276646.
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  10. Nouriel Roubini & Jeffrey Sachs, 1988. "Political and Economic Determinants of Budget Deficits in the IndustrialDemocracies," NBER Working Papers 2682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2008. "Persistence of Power, Elites, and Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 267-293, March.
  12. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "Land Reform, Poverty Reduction, and Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 389-430.
  13. Bourguignon, Francois & Verdier, Thierry, 2000. "Oligarchy, democracy, inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 285-313, August.
  14. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
  15. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  16. Khemani, Stuti, 2004. "Political cycles in a developing economy: effect of elections in the Indian States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 125-154, February.
  17. Jeon, Yoong-Deok & Kim, Young-Yong, 2000. "Land Reform, Income Redistribution, and Agricultural Production in Korea," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 253-268, January.
  18. Sugata Ghosh & Sarmistha Pal, 2004. "The Effect of Inequality on Growth: Theory and Evidence from the Indian States," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(1), pages 164-177, 02.
  19. Dreze, Jean & Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi, 2001. "School Participation in Rural India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 1-24, February.
  20. Khemani, Stuti, 2003. "Partisan politics and intergovernmental transfers in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3016, The World Bank.
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