Multi Dimensional Deprivation in the Awakening Giants: A Comparative Study on Micro Data
This paper evaluates and compares multidimensional deprivation in India and China during the 1990s and beyond. The exercise is conducted on two micro data sets that have been tailor made for this study. It departs from the recent comparisons between India and China that are based on macro aggregates such as trade, investment and growth rates and undertakes a systematic and comprehensive analysis of living standards in the two countries based on unit record data. The paper disaggregates the overall deprivation by categories, and compares the deprivation distribution between the two countries. This study reports that the high growth rates did not translate into an unambiguous improvement in living standards in either country. Deprivation is still unacceptably high in some categories. While rural deprivation is much higher in India than in China, they face similar levels of urban deprivation. Special attention is paid to a comparison of child health, and its link with motherâ€™s health, between the two countries. China outperforms India on child health with lower incidence of stunting and wasting. While both countries still record high rates of child stunting in the new millennium, wasting is much more of an issue in India than in China. The study provides evidence of strong link between deprivation in access to basic facilities, such as drinking water and clean fuel for cooking, and child undernourishment. The Indian evidence suggests that children of undernourished mothers are at high risk from stunting and wasting, but this does not extend to China. Notwithstanding evidence of decline in motherâ€™s BMI over this period, China outperforms India on womenâ€™s health as well.
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