Inequality of Educational Opportunity in India: Changes Over Time and Across States

34 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2010

See all articles by M. Niaz Asadullah

M. Niaz Asadullah

University of Reading - Department of Economics; University of Malaya

Gaston Yalonetzky

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS); Leeds University Business School (LUBS) - Division of Economics

Abstract

This paper documents the extent of inequality of educational opportunity in India spanning the period 1983-2004 using National Sample Survey (NSS) data. We build on recent developments in the literature that has operationalized concepts in the inequality of opportunity theory (including Roemer's) and construct three indices of inequality of educational opportunity using data on an adult sample. Irrespective of the index used, the state of Kerala stands out as the least unequal in terms of educational opportunities. However, even after excluding Kerala, significant inter-state divergence remains amongst the remaining states. Transition matrix analysis confirms substantial inter-temporal mobility in inequality of opportunity across Indian states. Rajasthan and Gujarat in the West and Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the Centre experienced large-scale fall in the ranking of inequality of opportunities. However, despite being poor, Eastern states of West Bengal and Orissa made significant progress in reducing inequality of opportunity. At a region level, Southern, North-eastern and Eastern regions on average experienced upward mobility (i.e. decline in inequality of opportunity) whilst the Central region experienced downward mobility. We conclude by examining the link between progress towards equality of opportunity and poverty reduction, growth and a selection of pro-poor policies.

Keywords: schooling mobility, dissimilarity index, Gini of opportunity index, overlap index

JEL Classification: D63, O53

Suggested Citation

Asadullah, Mohammad Niaz and Yalonetzky, Gaston, Inequality of Educational Opportunity in India: Changes Over Time and Across States. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5146, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1667770

Mohammad Niaz Asadullah (Contact Author)

University of Reading - Department of Economics ( email )

Reading, RG6 6AA
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.reading.ac.uk/economics/about/staff/m-asadullah.asp

University of Malaya ( email )

Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan
Malaysia

Gaston Yalonetzky

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS) ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

Leeds University Business School (LUBS) - Division of Economics ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

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