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Caste, Ethnicity and Poverty in Rural India

Author

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  • Ira N. Gang

    () (Rutgers University)

  • Myeong-Su Yun

    () (Tulane University)

  • Kunal Sen

    () (University of East Anglia)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants of rural poverty in India, contrasting the situation of the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) households with the non-scheduled population. The incidence of poverty among SC and ST households is significantly higher than non-scheduled households. Using a probit decomposition analysis, we decompose the difference in the poverty rates between the scheduled castes (or tribes) and non-scheduled households into a part explained by the differences in characteristics and a part explained by the differences in probit coefficients. The paper finds that for SC households, differences in characteristics explain the gap in poverty rates more than differences in coefficients; while for ST households, it is the reverse. Differences in educational attainment explain about one quarter of the poverty gap for both social groups. Occupational structure strongly matters in determining the poverty gap for both SC and ST, as does differences in returns to individual occupations. While poverty rates are not very different between SC and ST households, the analysis suggests that the underlying factors for the higher incidence of poverty in these social groups are to a large extent different.

Suggested Citation

  • Ira N. Gang & Myeong-Su Yun & Kunal Sen, 2002. "Caste, Ethnicity and Poverty in Rural India," Departmental Working Papers 200225, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:200225
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ashwini Deshpande, 2000. "Does Caste Still Define Disparity? A Look at Inequality in Kerala, India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 322-325, May.
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    3. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Poverty and Household Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(433), pages 1415-1434, November.
    4. Dreze, Jean & Srinivasan, P. V., 1997. "Widowhood and poverty in rural India: Some inferences from household survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 217-234, December.
    5. Meenakshi, J. V. & Ray, Ranjan, 2002. "Impact of household size and family composition on poverty in rural India," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 539-559, October.
    6. Dreze, Jean & Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi, 2001. "School Participation in Rural India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 1-24, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Anyanwu, 2013. "Working Paper 181 - Determining the Correlates of Poverty for Inclusive Growth in Africa," Working Paper Series 979, African Development Bank.
    2. Carlos Gradín, 2012. "Poverty among minorities in the United States: explaining the racial poverty gap for Blacks and Latinos," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(29), pages 3793-3804, October.
    3. Shankaran Nambiar, 2011. "Capabilities and Constraints," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 40(2), pages 179-195, July.
    4. Mehtabul Azam, 2012. "A distributional analysis of social group inequality in rural India," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 415-432, May.
    5. Bönke Timm & Schröder Carsten, 2011. "Poverty in Germany – Statistical Inference and Decomposition," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 231(2), pages 178-209, April.
    6. Somnath Chattopadhyay & Amita Majumder & Hasanur Jaman, 2014. "Decomposition of inter-regional poverty gap in India: a spatial approach," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 65-99, February.
    7. Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo & José-Ignacio Antón, 2011. "From Rags to Riches? Immigration and Poverty in Spain," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 30(5), pages 661-676, October.
    8. Sumon Kumar Bhaumik & Manisha Chakrabarty, 2006. "Earnings Inequality in India: Has the Rise of Caste and Religion Based Politics in India had an Impact?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 819, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    9. 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, March.
    10. Mihails Hazans & Ija Trapeznikova & Olga Rastrigina, 2008. "Ethnic and parental effects on schooling outcomes before and during the transition: evidence from the Baltic countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 719-749, July.
    11. Ira N. Gang & Kunal Sen & Myeong-Su Yun, 2006. "Poverty in Rural India: Ethnicity and Caste," Departmental Working Papers 200634, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    12. Yun, Myeong-Su, 2004. "Decomposing differences in the first moment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 275-280, February.
    13. Alessandrini, Michele & Buccellato, Tullio & Scaramozzino, Pasquale, 2008. "Whither the Indian Federation? Regional Disparities and Economic Reforms," MPRA Paper 23416, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Luis Ayala & Antonio Jurado & Jesús Pérez‐Mayo, 2011. "Income Poverty And Multidimensional Deprivation: Lessons From Cross‐Regional Analysis," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(1), pages 40-60, March.
    15. Rohit Mutatkar, 2005. "Social group disparities and poverty in India," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2005-004, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    16. Rohit Mutatkar, 2005. "Social Group Disparities and Poverty in India," Development Economics Working Papers 22342, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    17. Menuka Karki & Alok K. Bohara, 2014. "Evidence of Earnings Inequality Based on Caste in Nepal," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 52(3), pages 262-286, September.
    18. Rohit Mutatkar, 2009. "Social Group Disparities and Poverty in India," Working Papers id:1980, eSocialSciences.
    19. Dr. ADEKOYA, Olusoji Adetayo, 2014. "Analysis of Farm Households Poverty Status in Ogun States, Nigeria," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 4(3), pages 325-340, March.
    20. John Anyanwu, 2012. "Working Paper 149 - Accounting for Poverty in Africa: Illustration with Survey Data from Nigeria," Working Paper Series 383, African Development Bank.
    21. Somnath Chattopadhyay, 2011. "Inter-regional Poverty Comparisons: Case of West Bengal," Journal of Quantitative Economics, The Indian Econometric Society, vol. 9(2), pages 104-122, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    caste; ethnicity; poverty; probit decomposition;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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