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Was the Mandal Commission Right? Living Standard Differences between Backward Classes and Other Social Groups in India

  • Gang, Ira N.

    ()

    (Rutgers University)

  • Sen, Kunal

    ()

    (University of Manchester)

  • Yun, Myeong-Su

    ()

    (Tulane University)

Affirmative action has been at the heart of public policies towards the socially disadvantaged in India. Compensatory discrimination policies which have been adopted for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) since independence were recommended for Other Backward Classes (OBC) by the Mandal Commission established by the Indian government in 1979. We examine why OBC have lower living standards, as measured by per capita household consumption expenditures, relative to the mainstream population, and whether these reasons are similar to those observed for SC and ST. We find that while the causes of the living standard gap for the OBC are broadly similar to those for the SC and ST, the role of educational attainment in explaining the gap is higher in importance for the OBC.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3453.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic and Political Weekly, 2011, 46(39), 43-51
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3453
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  1. Vani K. Borooah, 2005. "Caste, Inequality, and Poverty in India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 399-414, 08.
  2. Richard Palmer-Jones & Kunal Sen, 2003. "What has luck got to do with it? A regional analysis of poverty and agricultural growth in rural India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 1-31.
  3. Ronald L. Oaxaca & Michael R. Ransom, 1999. "Identification in Detailed Wage Decompositions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 154-157, February.
  4. Kijima, Yoko, 2006. "Caste and Tribe Inequality: Evidence from India, 1983-1999," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(2), pages 369-404, January.
  5. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Why have some Indian states done better than others at reducing rural poverty?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1594, The World Bank.
  6. Dubey, Amaresh & Gangopadhyay, Shubhashis & Wadhwa, Wilima, 2001. "Occupational Structure and Incidence of Poverty in Indian Towns of Different Sizes," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 49-59, February.
  7. Ronald Oaxaca, 1971. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," Working Papers 396, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. S. Mahendra Dev, 2008. "India," Chapters, in: Handbook on the South Asian Economies, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
  9. Bhaumik, Sumon K. & Chakrabarty, Manisha, 2006. "Earnings Inequality in India: Has the Rise of Caste and Religion Based Politics in India Had an Impact?," IZA Discussion Papers 2008, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Ira N. Gang & Kunal Sen & Myeong-Su Yun, 2008. "Poverty In Rural India: Caste And Tribe," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(1), pages 50-70, 03.
  11. Borooah, Vani & Dubey, Amaresh & Iyer, Sriya, 2007. "The Effectiveness of Jobs Reservation: Caste, Religion, and Economic Status in India," MPRA Paper 19421, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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