Caste and socoieconomic disparities in India: an overview

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The chapter provides an overview on the extent of caste disparities in contemporary India. The evidence shows that the social basis of reproduction of caste – endogamy and untouchability practices – remain prevalent and widespread. Caste-based affirmative action is seen to be instrumental in improving human capital outcomes and providing access to better jobs for the disadvantaged group though in spite of these the gaps in higher education and white collar occupation are seen to have widened in the post-independence era. The regional patterns suggest that the caste disadvantage are especially acute in the northern and central plains of India. The evidence shows that caste remains a key mediator of socioeconomic status in today’s India.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Economics of Discrimination and Affirmative Action
EditorsAshwini Deshpande
Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9789813340169
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Caste disparities
  • Affirmative action human capital
  • Health
  • Income
  • Occupation

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