Political reservation and the quality of governance
Siwan Anderson , Patrick Francois
Posted on: 23 Oct 2017

Existing evidence suggests that while political reservation for traditionally marginalised groups tilts governance outcomes in favour of those groups, there are non-discernable or negative effects on the overall quality of governance. This column demonstrates that in a divided society like that of village India, where politics is organised along identity lines, reservation could indeed improve overall governance quality.
read on »
Caste and credit: Not such a woeful tale?
Sunil Mitra Kumar , Ragupathy Venkatachalam
Posted on: 11 Sep 2017
Topics:   Caste , Finance

Caste is an enduring predictor of economic status in India and caste-based discrimination continues to pervade several spheres of life. What about rural lending? This column suggests that most caste-wise differences in access to loans reflect differences in application rates and only a smaller part are due to discrimination: backward caste-members are a lot less likely to apply for loans than the advantaged groups.
read on »
Estimating intergenerational income mobility in rural India
Shariq Mohammed
Posted on: 03 Jul 2017

For developing countries, it is difficult to find income mobility studies that rely on datasets linking parents with their children. Using a panel dataset spanning 1994-2012, this column presents improved estimates of intergenerational income mobility in rural India, which is found to be higher than analogous evidence from other developing countries. While India is progressing towards cross-caste equality, it is at a disappointingly slow rate.
read on »
Backward or dominant? Political economy of demand for caste-based quotas
Ashwini Deshpande , Rajesh Ramachandran
Posted on: 30 Jun 2017
Topics:   Caste

Jats in Haryana have been demanding reservation under the ‘Other Backward Classes’ category. This column analyses socioeconomic data for three castes – Jats in Haryana, Patels in Gujarat, and Marathas in Maharashtra - in relation to other broad caste groups in their respective states, in order to examine the validity of their claim to ‘backwardness’.
read on »
Insights from long-term studies of Indian villages
Himanshu , Praveen K. Jha , Gerry Rodgers
Posted on: 23 Sep 2016

Much of our knowledge of change in rural areas depends on longitudinal village studies. Drawing upon a number of village studies carried out over the years in India, this column provides a broad picture of how the economic and social structures of villages are changing, and the consequences for production, employment, migration, inequality and other key issues.
read on »
Caste quotas in politics and development outcomes
Francesca R. Jensenius
Posted on: 14 Apr 2016

To guarantee the political inclusion of the historically marginalised groups, electoral quotas have been in place for them in India since 1950. Analysing the constituency-level impact of quotas for Scheduled Castes in state assemblies, this column finds no detectable effects on overall development or redistribution to Scheduled Castes during 1971-2000. However, these quotas have had several important positive effects beyond development.
read on »
Increasing economic divide within backward castes
Ashish Singh
Posted on: 28 Mar 2016

While the high level of socioeconomic inequality between the forward and backward caste groups in India is well documented, there is little research on inequalities within the backward caste groups. This column finds that economic divide within Scheduled Castes and within Scheduled Tribes has been on the rise over the past three decades.
read on »
How has land acquisition impacted dalits? A case study from Maharashtra
Dhanmanjiri Sathe
Posted on: 17 Dec 2015
Topics:   Caste , Land

Land ownership in Indian villages is inextricably linked to caste, with dalits owing little or no land. Based on a survey in Maharashtra, this column assesses the impact of land acquisition and subsequent development on dalits vis-à-vis non-dalits. The findings suggest that while economic development can make inroads into the caste system, it possibly cannot end casteism in the short run.
read on »
Impact of the two-child limit for local politicians
S. Anukriti , Abhishek Chakravarty
Posted on: 02 Mar 2015

Some Indian states debar individuals with more than two children from contesting local elections. This column finds that while the law has significantly reduced fertility among the general population in those states, it has worsened the sex ratio at birth among upper-caste families. It suggests that Indians have strong local leadership aspirations, and that policies altering access to political power can effect social change.
read on »
Does affirmative action reduce productivity? The case of Indian Railways
Ashwini Deshpande , Thomas Weisskopf
Posted on: 21 Jan 2015

Critics of job reservations argue that such policies have an adverse effect on work efficiency and productivity. This column analyses the effect of job reservations in the Indian Railways – the world’s largest employer subject to affirmative action. It finds that having a larger proportion of lower-caste employees is not associated with lower productivity; in top-tier jobs, in some cases, it is actually associated with higher productivity.
read on »