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Inequality in India : A review of levels and trends


WIDER Working Paper 42/2019

This paper contributes to the literature by reviewing levels, trends, and structure of inequality since the early 1990s in India.

It draws extensively on the existing literature, supplemented with analyses of multiple data sources, to paint a picture. It notes where different data sources suggest conflicting conclusions that reflect both data challenges and the complexity of the underlying drivers of inequality changes.

While the primary focus is on examining trends based on standard economic indicators of income/consumption and wealth, the paper briefly reviews distributions of selected non-monetary indicators, such as education and health.

URL: https://www.wider.unu.edu/publication/inequality-india

Courtesy: WIDER

Household Savings and Marriage Payments: Evidence from Dowry in India

S Anukriti, Sungoh Kwon, Nishith Prakash

IZA DP No. 11464

This paper examines how traditional marriage market institutions affect households’ financial decisions. We study how bride-to-groom marriage payments, i.e., dowries, influence saving behavior in rural India. Exploiting variation in firstborn gender and heterogeneity in dowry amounts across marriage markets, we find that the prospect of paying higher dowry increases household savings, which are primarily financed through increased paternal labor supply. This is the first paper that highlights this alternative motive for savings in dowry-paying societies. However, we find no impacts of dowry expectations on son-preferring fertility behaviors and investments in girls.

URL: https://www.iza.org/publications/dp/11464/household-savings-and-marriage-payments-evidence-from-dowry-in-india

Courtesy: IZA

Measures of Labor Use Efficiency from a Cost-Based Dual Representation of the Technology: A Study of Indian Bank Branches

Subhash C. Ray, Abhiman Das, Kankana Mukherjee

University of Connecticut, Working Paper 2018-17, October 2018

In this paper, we propose a representation of the production technology in the form of a cost set in the output and expenditure space as an alternative to the standard free disposal convex hull of input output vectors. We show that when all units pay the same input prices, one can construct a free disposal convex hull of outputs and total expenditures to solve the cost minimization problem. We use the proposed model to evaluate the labor use efficiency of a sample of 325 branches of a major Indian public sector bank from four metropolitan cities across two years, 2008 and 2014. This is the first study in the Indian banking context to model the operations of branches using the production approach. Our empirical findings indicate that there is significant inefficiency in labor use in the branches and cost could be curtailed substantially by addressing over staffing. Across the three types of labor, reducing the expenditure of clerks would have the highest impact for cost saving. We do find, however, that that the extent of overspending on clerks has reduced in 2014, which apparently is a direct consequence of computerization of routine jobs. Efficiency varies across regions. In general, Chennai branches are more efficient than branches from other regions whereas Kolkata branches are the least efficient.

URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2018-17.pdf

Courtesy: University of Connecticut

Migration as a driver of changing household structures: implications for local livelihoods and adaptation

Migration and Development, 2019

Rapid environmental change, increasing climate variability, land fragmentation, and underlying institutional lacunae have shaped rural livelihoods in India. Increasingly, rural-urban migration has been a significant livelihood strategy to manage risks, meet aspirations, and move out of increasingly unprofitable agriculture. I argue that this movement of people is changing shape household structures, and the metrics to assess these transitions, often through categories of male- and female-headed households, fall short in understanding the experiences and outcomes of migration. Using a household survey (n = 825) and life history interviews (n = 16) to study rural-urban migration in South India, I demonstrate that shifting household configurations due to migration and commuting have implications for the risk management strategies people undertake. This calls for an expanded understanding of the ‘household’, which captures the realities of multi-local households, and consequently, for an expanded conceptualisation of ‘local adaptation’. Such an understanding is sensitive to the ‘beyond-local’ flows and networks that shape household risk management behaviour and has implications for improving the effectiveness of climate change adaptation interventions.

URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21632324.2019.1589073

Courtesy: T&F

Satellite-based assessment of the August 2018 flood in parts of Kerala, India

C.L. VishnuK.S. SajinkumarT. OommenR.A. CoffmanK.P. ThrivikramjiV.R. Rani & S. Keerthy

Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk , Volume 10, 2019 – Issue 1

From 1 June to 29 August 2018, Kerala, a state in southwestern India, recorded 36% excess rainfall than normal levels, leading to widespread floods and landslides events and resulting in 445 deaths. In this study, satellite-based data were used to map the flood inundation in the districts of Thrissur, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Idukki and Kottayam. Specifically, flood delineation was enabled with Sentinel-1A radar data of 21 August 2018 and was compared with an average pre-flood, water-cover map based on Modified Normalized Difference Water Index (MNDWI) that was developed using a January and February 2018 Sentinel-2A dataset. A 90% increase in water cover was observed during the August 2018 flood event. Low lying areas in the coastal plains of Kuttanad and the Kole lands of Thrissur, had marked a rise of up to 5 and 10 m of water, respectively, during this deluge. These estimates are conservative as that the flood waters had started receding prior to the August 21 Sentinel-1A imagery.

URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19475705.2018.1543212

Courtesy: T&F

Journal of Political Economy,Vol.127, No.1, Feb 2019


  • Temporary Migration and Endogenous Risk Sharing in Village India by Melanie Morten
  • Democracy Does Cause Growth by Daron Acemoglu, Suresh Naidu, Pascual Restrepo, James A. Robinson
  • Private Outsourcing and Competition: Subsidized Food Distribution in Indonesia by Abhijit Banerjee, Rema Hanna, Jordan Kyle, Benjamin A. Olken, Sudarno Sumarto
  • Equilibrium Search with Multiple Attributes and the Impact of Equal Opportunities for Women by Melvyn G. Coles, Marco Francesconi
  • Nash-in-Nash” Bargaining: A Microfoundation for Applied Work by Allan Collard-Wexler, Gautam Gowrisankaran, Robin S. Lee
  • Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity under Firm Heterogeneity by Swati Dhingra, John Morrow
  • The Market for Financial Adviser Misconduct by Mark Egan, Gregor Matvos, Amit Seru
  • Culture and Taxes by Beatrix Eugster, Raphaël Parchet
  • Screening and Adverse Selection in Frictional Markets by Benjamin Lester, Ali Shourideh, Venky Venkateswaran, Ariel Zetlin-Jones
  • Dispute Resolution Institutions and Strategic Militarization by Adam Meirowitz, Massimo Morelli, Kristopher W. Ramsay, Francesco Squintani
  • Random Choice and Learning by Paulo Natenzon


  • Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation: A Correction by Massimo MorelliMargherita Negri

URL: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/toc/jpe/2019/127/1

Courtesy: The University of Chicago Press Journal

Journal of Development Studies,Vol.55,No. 3,March 2019

Special Issue: Legal Empowerment and Group-based Inequality


  • Legal Empowerment and Group-Based Inequality by Rachel M. Gisselquist


  • Access to What? Legal Agency and Access to Justice for Indigenous Peoples in Latin America by Daniel M. Brinks
  • Identity Documents, Welfare Enhancement, and Group Empowerment in the Global South by Wendy Hunter
  • Legal Empowerment of the Poor through Property Rights Reform: Tensions and Trade-offs of Land Registration and Titling in Sub-Saharan Africa by Catherine Boone
  • Using Legal Empowerment for Labour Rights in India by Rina Agarwala
  • Can Business Rights Alleviate Group-Based Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa? Understanding the Limits to Reform by Scott D. Taylor
  • Legal Empowerment and Horizontal Inequalities after Conflict by Lars Waldorf

URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/fjds20/55/3?nav=tocList

Courtesy: Taylor And Francis



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