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The Partition of India: Demographic Consequences

41 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2008 Last revised: 24 Aug 2009

Prashant Bharadwaj

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics

Asim Ijaz Khwaja

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies (CeRP); Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Atif R. Mian

Princeton University - Department of Economics; Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; NBER

Date Written: June 2009

Abstract

Large scale migrations, especially involuntary ones, can have a substantial impact on the demographics of both sending and receiving communities. We estimate the impact of the 1947 Indian subcontinent partition, one of the largest and most rapid population exchanges in human history. Comparing neighboring districts better isolates the effect of the migratory flows from secular changes. We find large effects on a districts' educational, occupational, and gender composition within four years. Due to higher education levels amongst migrants, districts with greater inflows saw their literacy rates increase by 16% more while outflows reduced literacy rates by as much as 20%. With less land vacated by those who left Indian Punjab, Indian districts with large inflows saw a decline of 70% in the growth of agricultural occupations. Affected districts also experienced large changes in gender composition with a relatively large drop in percentage men in Indian districts that experienced large outflows, and in Pakistani districts with large inflows. While the partition, driven along religious lines, increased religious homogenization within communities, our results suggest that this was accompanied by increased educational and occupational differences within religious groups. We hypothesize that these compositional effects, in addition to an aggregate population impact, are likely features of involuntary migrations and, as in the case of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, can have important long-term consequences.

Suggested Citation

Bharadwaj, Prashant and Khwaja, Asim Ijaz and Mian, Atif R., The Partition of India: Demographic Consequences (June 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1294846 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1294846

Prashant Bharadwaj

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States

Asim Ijaz Khwaja

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-384-7790 (Phone)
617-496-5960 (Fax)

Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies (CeRP) ( email )

Via Real Collegio, 30
Moncalieri, Turin 10024
Italy

Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) ( email )

Duke University
Durham, NC 90097
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Atif R. Mian (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

NBER

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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