A Distributional Analysis of Social Group Inequality in Rural India

35 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2009

See all articles by Mehtabul Azam

Mehtabul Azam

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater; IZA Institute of Labor Economics


This paper examines the differences in welfare, as measured by per capita expenditure (PCE), between social groups in rural India across the entire welfare distribution. The paper establishes that the disadvantage suffered by two historically disadvantaged groups - Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) - is underestimated when the comparison group is Non-SCs/STs rather than general category (mostly higher castes). The ST households are the most disadvantaged followed by the SC and the Other Backward Caste households with respect to general category households, and the disadvantage exists across the entire distribution. Better covariates and better returns to those covariates contribute to the advantage of the general category households. The findings suggest that the policies to raise the human capital and strengthening the other productive assets of the SC and the ST households must remain a focus of attention besides promoting a more active labor market in rural India.

Keywords: India, social groups, inequality, quantile regression decomposition

JEL Classification: C15, D63, 053

Suggested Citation

Azam, Mehtabul, A Distributional Analysis of Social Group Inequality in Rural India. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3973, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1336090

Mehtabul Azam (Contact Author)

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater ( email )

Stillwater, OK 74078-0555
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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