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On Inequality of Opportunity: The Case of India

Abstract : The thesis consists of three empirical chapters on the extent of inequality of opportunity in India using data from the National Sample Survey. Inequality of opportunity is conceptualized as the unequal distribution in an outcome that is generated by factors beyond any individual responsibility. Chapter 1 estimates the index measures of inequality of opportunity in India during the time frame of 2004-12, for consumption expenditure, wage earning and education. Taking caste, sex, region of residence, parental education and occupation as our fatalistic circumstances, both the non-parametric and parametric index shows that more than one-fourth of the respective inequality in wage and education is due to unequal opportunities among the circumstances. Since the traditional approach of non-parametric and parametric estimation strategy can not point out the meaningful intertwining among the circumstances, we further adopt the recently introduced approach of the regression tree analysis that is able to draw an opportunity tree by hierarchical order of circumstances. The opportunity tree for contemporary India identifi es parental education as one of the main circumstance variable behind the unequal opportunity in the country, especially for education. Chapter 2 focuses on a temporal perspective that explores equalization of opportunities among the different caste categories in India over the time span of 1983-2012, adopting the robust methodology of distributional dominance. The relatively upper caste groups are not only found to clearly dominate the historically disadvantageous caste categories, but the premium enjoyed by the former actually increases over time, as far as earning opportunity is concerned. Opportunity in consumption expenditure among the caste groups however have equalized to an impressive extent, especially during 2004-12. Chapter 3 estimates the degree of inequality of opportunity in access to elementary and post-elementary education among Indian children, using the dissimilarity index and the Human Opportunity Index. Indian children are found to enroll in elementary schools on time, irrespective of their circumstances. However children of lesser educated parents are always less likely to complete the eight years of elementary schooling on time, even in 2012, when elementary education is made free and compulsory by the Government, for all eligible children. The regional analysis reveals that access to basic educational opportunity is relatively worse for East and Central India.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 5:26:09 PM
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Tista Kundu. On Inequality of Opportunity: The Case of India. Humanities and Social Sciences. Université de Cergy-Pontoise. Ecole doctorale no 405 : Economie, Management, Mathématiques et Physique (EM2P). Théorie _Economique, Modélisation et Applications (THEMA), 2019. English. ⟨tel-02519121⟩



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