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Inequality in health outcomes in India: the role of caste and religion

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  • Borooah, Vani

Abstract

The “social gradient to health” - whereby people belonging to groups higher up the social ladder had better health outcomes than those belonging to groups further down - is essentially a Western construct; there has been very little investigation into whether, in developing countries also, people’s state of health is dependent on their social status. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the relative strengths of economic and social status in determining the health status of persons in India. In other words, even after controlling for non-community factors, did the fact that Indians belonged to different social groups, encapsulating different degrees of social status, exercise a significant influence on the state of their health? The existence of a social group effect would suggest that there was a “social gradient” to health outcomes in India. Furthermore, there was the possibility that the “social gradient” existed with respect to some outcomes but not to others. In investigating this, the paper addresses, in the Indian context, an issue which les at the heart of social epidemiology: estimating the relative strengths of individual and social factors in determining health outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Borooah, Vani, 2010. "Inequality in health outcomes in India: the role of caste and religion," MPRA Paper 19832, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:19832
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/19832/1/MPRA_paper_19832.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Griffin, Joan M. & Fuhrer, Rebecca & Stansfeld, Stephen A. & Marmot, Michael, 2002. "The importance of low control at work and home on depression and anxiety: do these effects vary by gender and social class?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 783-798, March.
    2. 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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    Cited by:

    1. George, Sobin, 2015. "Caste and Care: Is Indian Healthcare Delivery System Favourable for Dalits?," Working Papers 350, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
    2. M. Niaz Asadullah & Uma Kambhampati & Florencia Lopez Boo, 2014. "Social divisions in school participation and attainment in India: 1983–2004," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(4), pages 869-893.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health outcomes; Caste; Religion; India;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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