Elite Dominance and Under-Investment in Mass Education: Disparity in the Social Development of the Indian States, 1960-92

45 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2007

See all articles by Sarmistha Pal

Sarmistha Pal

University of Surrey; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Sugata Ghosh

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School - Economics Section

Date Written: June 2007

Abstract

Inter- and intra-state disparities in levels of literacy rates in India are striking, especially for the marginalized groups of women and low caste population. The present paper offers an explanation of this disparate development in terms of elite dominance that discriminates against the minority groups of people and systematically under-invests in mass education. We experiment with various indirect economic and political measures of elite dominance. Results based on the Indian state-level data for the period 1960-92 suggest that higher share of land held by the top 5% of the population (a) lowers spending on education as well as total developmental spending and (b) increases total non-developmental spending. Greater proportion of minority representations (female and low caste members) in the ruling government however fails to have any perceptible impact on development (including education) spending in our sample. This analysis also identifies land reform and poverty alleviation as two important policy instruments to erode the initial disadvantage of the marginalised people.

Keywords: under-investment in education, discrimination against female and low-caste population, persistence of elite dominance, poverty, land reform

JEL Classification: I28, J15, O15, P48

Suggested Citation

Pal, Sarmistha and Ghosh, Sugata, Elite Dominance and Under-Investment in Mass Education: Disparity in the Social Development of the Indian States, 1960-92 (June 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2852, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=998438

Sarmistha Pal (Contact Author)

University of Surrey ( email )

Stag Hill
Guildford, England GU2 7XH
United Kingdom
01483 683995 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Sugata Ghosh

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School - Economics Section ( email )

Cardiff CF10 3EU
United Kingdom
44 1222 875515 (Phone)
44 1222 874419 (Fax)

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