IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Gender, geography and generations : intergenerational educational mobility in post-reform India

  • Emran, M. Shahe
  • Shilpi, Forhad

India experienced sustained economic growth for more than two decades following the economic liberalization in 1991. While economic growth reduced poverty significantly, it was associated with an increase in inequality. Does this increase in inequality reflect deep-seated inequality of opportunity or efficient incentive structure in a market oriented economy? This paper provides evidence on economic mobility in post-reform India by focusing on the educational attainment of children. It uses two related measures of immobility: sibling and intergenerational correlations. The paper analyzes the trends in and patterns of educational mobility from 1992/93 to 2006, with a special emphasis on the roles played by gender and geography. The evidence shows that family background plays a strong role; the estimated sibling correlation in India in 2006 is higher than the available estimates for Latin American countries. There is a persistent gender gap in rural and less-developed areas. The only group that experienced substantial improvements is women in urban and developed areas, with the lower caste women benefiting the most. Almost 70 percent of the variance in children's education can be accounted for by parental education and geographic location. The authors provide possible explanations for the apparently puzzling improvements for urban women in a country with strong son preference.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6055.

in new window

Date of creation: 01 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6055
Contact details of provider: Postal:
1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433

Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Goldberger, A.S., 1989. "Economic And Mechanical Models Of Intergenerational Transmission," Working papers 374, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J., 2011. "Recent Developments in Intergenerational Mobility," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  3. M. Shahe Emran & Zhaoyang Hou, 2013. "Access to Markets and Rural Poverty: Evidence from Household Consumption in China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 682-697, May.
  4. Orazem, Peter & King, Elizabeth M., 2008. "Schooling in Developing Countries: The Roles of Supply, Demand and Government Policy," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12838, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Jyotsna Jalan & Martin Ravallion, 1999. "China's Lagging Poor Areas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 301-305, May.
  6. Kalpana Kochhar & Utsav Kumar & Raghuram Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2006. "India's Patterns of Development: What Happened, What Follows," NBER Working Papers 12023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey MacMillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0307, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  8. P. Duraisamy, 2000. "Changes in Returns to Education in India, 1983-94: By Gender, Age-Cohort and Location," Working Papers 815, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  9. Dahan, Momi & Gaviria, Alejandro, 2001. "Sibling Correlations and Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(3), pages 537-54, April.
  10. Francis Green & Stephen Machin & Richard Murphy & Yu Zhu, 2010. "The Changing Economic Advantage From Private School," CEE Discussion Papers 0115, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  11. Das, Jishnu & Zajonc, Tristan, 2008. "India shining and Bharat drowning: comparing two Indian states to the worldwide distribution in mathematics achievement," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4644, The World Bank.
  12. Gary Solon & Marianne E. Page & Greg J. Duncan, 2000. "Correlations Between Neighboring Children In Their Subsequent Educational Attainment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 383-392, August.
  13. Lee A. Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 1994. "Intergenerational Educational Mobility: Effects of Family and State in Malaysia," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 1126-1166.
  14. Duraisamy, P., 2002. "Changes in returns to education in India, 1983-94: by gender, age-cohort and location," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 609-622, December.
  15. Duraisamy, P., 2000. "Changes in Returns to Education in India, 1983-94: By Gender, Age-Cohort and Location," Papers 815, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  16. World Bank, 2011. "Perspectives on Poverty in India : Stylized Facts from Survey Data," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2299.
  17. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 2007. "The progress of school education in India," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 168-195, Summer.
  18. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human Capital Externalities," NBER Working Papers 4912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_dreze_poverty_india is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Fortunate Sons: New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Using Social Security Earnings Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 235-255, May.
  21. Lena Lindahl, 2011. "A comparison of family and neighborhood effects on grades, test scores, educational attainment and income—evidence from Sweden," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 9(2), pages 207-226, June.
  22. Emran, M. Shahe & Shilpi, Forhad, 2008. "The extent of the market and stages of agricultural specialization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4534, The World Bank.
  23. Viktoria Hnatkovska & Amartya Lahiri & Sourabh B. Paul, 2013. "Breaking the Caste Barrier: Intergenerational Mobility in India," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(2), pages 435-473.
  24. A. B. Atkinson, 1981. "On Intergenerational Income Mobility in Britain," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 3(2), pages 194-218, January.
  25. Ashok Kotwal & Bharat Ramaswami & Wilima Wadhwa, 2011. "Economic Liberalization and Indian Economic Growth: What's the Evidence?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1152-99, December.
  26. Lorraine Dearden & Stephen Machin & Howard Reed, 1995. "Intergenerational mobility in Britain," IFS Working Papers W95/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  27. M. Shahe Emran & Forhad Shilpi, 2011. "Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Rural Economy: Evidence from Nepal and Vietnam," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(2), pages 427-458.
  28. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
  29. Jere R. Behrman & Alejandro Gaviria & Miguel Székely, 2001. "Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2001), pages 1-44, August.
  30. Hertz Tom & Jayasundera Tamara & Piraino Patrizio & Selcuk Sibel & Smith Nicole & Verashchagina Alina, 2008. "The Inheritance of Educational Inequality: International Comparisons and Fifty-Year Trends," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-48, January.
  31. Behrman, Jere R & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "Birth Order, Schooling, and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S121-45, July.
  32. Azam, Mehtabul & Bhatt, Vipul, 2012. "Like Father, Like Son? Intergenerational Education Mobility in India," IZA Discussion Papers 6549, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  33. Björklund, Anders & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2011. "Education and Family Background: Mechanisms and Policies," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  34. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh & Anders Skrondal & Andrew Pickles, 2002. "Reliable estimation of generalized linear mixed models using adaptive quadrature," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(1), pages 1-21, February.
  35. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2004. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Composition on Children's Education," IZA Discussion Papers 1269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  36. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Sibling similarities and economic inequality in the US," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 685-701, July.
  37. Ray, Jhilam & Majumder, Rajarshi, 2010. "Educational and occupational mobility across generations in India: social and regional dimensions," MPRA Paper 28539, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  38. Luke, Nancy & Munshi, Kaivan, 2011. "Women as agents of change: Female income and mobility in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 1-17, January.
  39. Mazumder Bhashkar, 2011. "Family and Community Influences on Health and Socioeconomic Status: Sibling Correlations Over the Life Course," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-23, September.
  40. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus & Lindquist, Matthew J., 2009. "Family background and income during the rise of the welfare state: Brother correlations in income for Swedish men born 1932-1968," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 671-680, June.
  41. Gary Solon & Mary Corcoran & GRoger Gordon & Deborah Laren, 1991. "A Longitudinal Analysis of Sibling Correlations in Economic Status," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 509-534.
  42. Björklund Anders & Lindahl Lena & Lindquist Matthew J., 2010. "What More Than Parental Income, Education and Occupation? An Exploration of What Swedish Siblings Get from Their Parents," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-40, November.
  43. Corcoran, Mary, et al, 1990. "Effects of Family and Community Background on Economic Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 362-66, May.
  44. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2006. "Traditional Institutions Meet the Modern World: Caste, Gender, and Schooling Choice in a Globalizing Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1225-1252, September.
  45. Hausman, Jerry A & Wise, David A, 1977. "Social Experimentation, Truncated Distributions, and Efficient Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 919-38, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6055. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.