Got Water? Social Divisions and Access to Public Goods in Rural India

39 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2009 Last revised: 3 Oct 2015

Divya Balasubramaniam

Saint Joseph's University

Santanu Chatterjee

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics

David B. Mustard

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Georgia Law School

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Date Written: September 10, 2012

Abstract

We use data for 436 rural districts from the 2001 Census of India to examine whether different aspects of social divisions help explain the wide variation in access to tap water across rural India. Studies linking social fragmentation to public goods usually aggregate different types of fragmentation into one index. In contrast, we use disaggregated measures of social fragmentation to show that different types of social fragmentation are associated with dramatically different outcomes for access to tap water in rural India. Communities that are heterogeneous in terms of caste (within the majority Hindu religion) have lower access to tap water than correspondingly homogeneous communities. Communities that are fragmented across religions have higher access to tap water than correspondingly homogeneous communities. This underscores the importance of heterogeneity both within and across religions. Therefore, relying on aggregate measures of social fragmentation may conceal the differential effects of the component measures and obscure important information regarding the design of policies related to public goods.

Keywords: Public goods, Social fragmentation, Water, Public policy, India

JEL Classification: H4, O2

Suggested Citation

Balasubramaniam, Divya and Chatterjee, Santanu and Mustard, David B., Got Water? Social Divisions and Access to Public Goods in Rural India (September 10, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1365393 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1365393

Divya Balasubramaniam

Saint Joseph's University ( email )

5600 City Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19131
United States

Santanu Chatterjee (Contact Author)

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602
United States
706-542-1709 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.terry.uga.edu/people/schatt/Home.htm

David B. Mustard

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States
706-542-3624 (Phone)
706-542-3376 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.terry.uga.edu/~dmustard/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Georgia Law School

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States

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