Seminar by Ms.Libitha C: 18 Oct., 2019
A seminar on ‘Intra-generational Income Mobility in India: Does Caste Matter?’ was held at the Joan Robinson Hall on 18 October, 2019. The seminar was presented by Ms. Libitha C, PhD Scholar, CDS. Dr Ritika Jain, Assistant Professor, CDS chaired the seminar.
Abstract: The period of structural reforms of the Indian economy starting from the early 1990s ushered in a phase of high economic growth, but it was also associated with increasing inequality. Furthermore, the high economic growth has also been claimed to be exclusionary in nature, excluding the marginalized sections of the society from the gains of growth. While inequality had been widening little is known of the paths of mobility within these social groups. In this context, it becomes pertinent to ask the question about income mobility and the pathways that affect income mobility of the economically and socially marginalized sections of the population. This paper attempts to examine the intra-generational income mobility among the Dalits and Adivasis in India compared to other social groups. For this, the paper uses the India Human Development Survey (IHDS) 2004 and 2011 rounds. The data shows that the absolute difference in mean incomes between Dalits and Other social groups has declined in the period, which apparently gives a picture of a declining trend in absolute inequality between these groups. The Transition matrix of the household panel data shows that all social groups have achieved moderately high levels of income mobility during the period. However, when comparing between social groups, the speed of income mobility among the social groups vary and Dalits have relatively lower income mobility in comparison to other social groups, especially forward castes, implying widening relative inequality between Dalits and other social groups. Regression-based analysis shows that even after controlling for endowments such as education and occupation, ones ascribed status in the society, i.e., one’s caste plays an important role in determining the rate of income mobility.