Caste and the Escape from Poverty in India, 2005-2012

Amit Thorat, National Council of Applied Economic Research

This paper uses the IHDS panel data set for India (2004/5-2011/12) to identify households and individuals who escaped poverty over this time period and try and understand the strategies which people employed to maximize incomes by diversifying occupations into the growing sectors of the economy. Studies have shown that the Indian labor market structure however is closely linked to caste, ethnicity and even religious identities. Therefore movements out of and into different occupations and sectors is believed to be strongly mediated by the social identities and networks, which either help in varying degrees in occupational diversification and transition. This paper intends to study the role of these social structures in people’s quest to better their lives and to try measure and quantify this effect on poor peoples transition out of poverty or the fall of the non poor into destitution. A dynamic regression analysis will be conducted to ascertain this for the two waves.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Economy, Labor Force, Education and Inequality