Jati inequality in rural India
10th August, 2017 (Thursday) at 3:00 PM
Venue : Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics
All are cordially invited
Caste is a persistent driver of inequality in India. Identification of vulnerable groups within the caste system however, is challenging. Policy-makers and large surveys typically use broad groupings that aggregate the most disadvantaged groups. In everyday life however, caste is lived and experienced as jati, which is a local system of stratification. Little is known about economic inequality at the jati-level. We use a rich source data from poor districts in three states of India to explore inequality at the level of broad caste groups as well as jatis. Though there are considerable regional variations, we find that total inequality in all three states is largely driven by inequality within, rather than between, groups. Moreover, overall inequality is driven by differences within jatis, rather than differences between jatis. This has implications for the implementation of large-scale poverty alleviation programs: we see that the benefits of programs that are targeted to the lowest castes are actually concentrated among specific jatis.