40 thoughts on “Upward mobility in India by geography”

  1. Tracks urbanization/non-agricultural share of economy and proximity to a megalopolis just from first impressions of the map.

    1. I think that is a zeroth order model. If true, then Kolkatta and all regions around Delhi will be green.

      A first order model will be more socio-econonomic. Higher HDI indicators such as infant mortality, parents age at birth of child, educational achievement of parents and children, number of children per family, will all contribute, in addition to industry penetration and urbanization. Lower infant mortality means smaller family; and smaller family means more resources per child; more resources mean further education and assistance in economic mobility.
      A little caveat about that figure. It does not weigh by population. 54% of the nations population is in 6 states UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, MP, Rajasthan, Bengal. These are not intergenerationally mobile states except Maharashtra

      1. To D:

        Correlates to upward mobility are provided in Figure 9; for rural, it is log rural consumption and average years education. For urban, it is average years education followed by high schools pe capita (I do not know what that means).

    2. There are some noticeable fault lines on the map, based on administrative boundaries. The Haryana-western UP one, as well as Maharashtra with both Guj/Karnataka. Some of these don’t correspond to important cultural fault lines, so the implications on quality of governance are potentially interesting.

      1. Also note that the divide right in the middle of Karnataka and in Andhra well south of Hyderabad; also, note that Punjab/Haryana split. Note that the Naxal belt is all “red”, as is a lot of North east.

      2. Why is eastern UP different from central UP and Bihar.
        Strange! I would have thought Central UP with access to Lucknow and being closer to Delhi/NCR would be much better.

  2. Gujarat is the only outlier , considering how rich the state is. Also Western UP having one of the lowest mobility is strange too.

  3. Novosad has a thirty post thread discussion on twitter.

    “Since everyone is talking about the caste results”

    You should have thrown in Figure 4, and see the phones light up. Based on religion.

    More serious question.

    Does Figure 2 say, it does not matter what happened after 1991; if you were poor, you remained poor, and if you were rich you remained rich?

    This is in contrast to my understanding that the absolute number of poor declined after 1991.

    1. Has there been any study of pre partition or just after partition on HDI or per capita income of muslims? He says Muslims have been “historically” marginalized group akin to dalits and tribals. Is that a accurate statement?

  4. “Group identity is a strong predictor of both levels and changes in intergenerational mobil-
    ity. Consistent with prior work, we find that India’s constitutionally protected marginal-
    ized groups, the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, have lower intergenerational mobility than
    upper caste groups, and have closed respectively 50% and 30% of the mobility gap to For-
    wardsOthers (Hnatkovska et al., 2012; Emran and Shilpi, 2015). Our most novel and striking
    finding is that upward mobility has fallen substantially among Muslims in the last twenty
    years. The expected educational rank of a Muslim child born in the bottom half of the parent
    distribution has fallen from between 31 and 34 to a dismal 29. Muslims now have consid-
    erably worse upward mobility today than both Scheduled Castes (37.4–37.8) and Scheduled
    Tribes (32.5–32.7). The comparable figure for African Americans is 34. Higher caste groups
    have experienced constant and high upward mobility over time, a result that contradicts a
    popular notion that it is increasingly difficult for upper-caste Hindus to get ahead.”

    As I like to quip all Urdu-speakers (Pakistanis too) should dedicate one salat a day to QeA. He really saved the Muslims and Urdu-speakers of India from such ignominy by giving us/them Pakistan..

    1. See your bet and raise you with this

      “Our findings imply that virtually all of the upward mobility gains in India over recent
      decades have accrued to Scheduled Castes and Tribes, groups with constitutional protections,
      reservations in politics and education, and who have been targeted by many development
      policies. Further, none of those gains have come at the expense of the upper caste population,
      in spite of significant political mobilization against affirmative action by higher caste groups
      in recent years. For other groups, there is little evidence that economic liberalization has
      substantially increased opportunities for those in the lower half of the rank distribution to
      attain higher relative social position, and for Muslims these opportunities have substantially

        1. But why do you say so. The reason for the “starting” point of the average low per capita income of Indian muslims has to the fact that the muslims who were on the the higher scale just packed up and formed another country. I dont think per capita income of muslims in undivided India would have been as low as post partition Indian muslims in comparison to Hindu per capita income. Its similar to if upper caste /Upper middle class hindus form a country and then you make a comparison of the rest and say the per capita income of hindus have fallen. It wont make sense.

          Class and caste in the subcontinent protects . If you think that somehow the Nawabs ,punjabi zamidars and educated upper middle class mohajirs would have faced the bunt of “hindu raj” then look around you. The family of Pataudis/Bhuttos etc have been doing quite well both in India and Pakistan. It was and always be the dalits and the ajlaf who would have bore the excess.

          The weak need a country more than the strong

        2. Where did you get the idea that SC in general, and, in particular, ST are Hindu? SCs are specifically outside the caste system.

          (Doing my best)

          1. Vijay, how are SC and ST not Hindus? Hindus means people of an area + 10 Darshanas and related philosophies. There are many muslims are Hindu muslims too since they are from the area.

            Hindu is an open architecture ecosystem based on pluralism, diversity, multiplicity, mutual respect and secularism.

          1. leopard, my definition of Hindu is anyone from SAARC and South East Asia or associated cultures if outside these areas. This would include but is not limited to the the ten darshanas and related philosophies such as Sikhism and to some streams of Sufism. What is your definition of Hinduism?

            Are you referring to scheduled castes who have chosen to become “EXCLUSIVELY” Christian or Muslim? If so, you have a point. But remember that India has many Hindu Christians and Hindu muslims who have their feet in multiple faiths. Being many religions at once is the ethos of India and Hinduism.

            Are you referring to self declared atheists? As you know, there are vast numbers of Hindu atheists.

            Why would you not describe any scheduled castes as not Hindu unless they declare themselves to not be Hindu?

    2. The HDI of Pakistani Punjab is almost similar to Bihar. Not really sure if QeA deserves all that much thanks from them.

    3. Perhaps he ‘saved’ Pakistani Muslims by throwing under the train Indian and Bangladesh Muslims. probably Baluchis will disagree with this.

  5. In general people give too much attention to upward mobility, which is a symptom of what matters. Productivity growth is much more important.

    India’s GDP grew by 8.2% in the year ending in Q1 2018. I don’t know any estimate of hours worked. But if it grew 3% year over year (which it likely did not), then productivity growth would have been about 5% year over year. At that rate, India would transform very quickly.

    1. GDP growth means nothing if the majority of the benefits accrue only to the ridiculously wealthy. In a country already as unequal as India…

      1. Couldn’t disagree more. Increasing the size of the pie is vastly more important than the distribution of the pie.

        The more meritocratic a society becomes the more unequal it becomes. Despite this, poor people benefit greatly from greater meritocracy.

        The primary driver of global inequality is inequality of merit, capacity, competence, physical health, mental health and intelligence.

        The world needs to find creative ways to increase the merit, capacity, competence, physical health, mental health and intelligence of the global poor and global lower middle class.

        1. If you double the size of the pie but don’t actually increase the size of my slice, I don’t quite see how I benefit…

          1. Is your question how does someone with a stagnant low marginal product of labor benefit from a rise in the global (or national) total factor productivity (global product development and process innovation)?

            A few different ways. The more productive others are, the more productive and innovative we become . . . the positive correlation is nonzero and significant. We have a symbiotic relationship with those around us:
            If we are held back by personal challenges with respect to capacity, competence, merit, physical health, mental health and intelligence; we want society around us to be as productive and technologically advanced as possible because:
            —society can afford bigger subsidies for us (because the tax base is higher and because charitable contributions are higher)
            —new technologies that increase physical health, mental health and intelligence will come faster . . . and we benefit greatly from them

            The challenge with the global poor is that no one benefits from exploiting or oppressing them. Rather the global poor are fast becoming irrelevant; out of sight and out of mind. This is a hard challenge to solve.

            Please watch the following videos to better understand this phenomenon:

            Human beings are fast becoming superhuman or gods.

            Is there interest in a series of articles on this subject?

          2. Fraxinicus,

            Marginal product of labor = derivative of income with respect to labor


            Please ask clarifying questions.

            I would be very curious to get your perspective about pre Ice age advanced civilizations.

  6. India’s overall GDP is more than 50% higher per capita than Pakistan’s. And the margin of India’s outperformance of Pakistan continues to increase. Suspect that most Pakistanis and Bangladeshi muslims would have been socio economically better off today without partition.

    How does per capita muslim income compare with per capita nonmuslim income? The above is an estimate of upward mobility versus changes in average income. It is possible for middle class and upper middle class muslims to be booming at a time of low upward mobility.

    My view is that India can help her muslims by:
    –freedom of speech
    –ending Shariah including Talat talat talat
    –normalizing LBGTQ
    –ending all affirmative action other than affirmative action based on socio-economic background
    –promoting career and business options for those with limited formal education.

    For example, adding IT trade school to 9-12 standard studies so that someone can get a simple IT job without attending college. Similarly incorporating mechanics, welders, medical technicians and many other types of trade schools.

    Young 8th standard girls should be able to enter a six year trade school to become a registered nurse. [standards 9-12 plus two years undergraduate].

    Maybe there should be an article series on this.

  7. You guys should watch Gangs of Wasseypur. Lot of things about Muslims lack of growth trajectory will make sense.

  8. I suspect this will correlate well with the proportion of time MLAs/MPs were from OBCs or SCs as opposed to UCs. Remember reading a UP village comparison where the authors pointed out that SCs do much worse in UC dominated villages as opposed to OBC dominated ones.

  9. Interesting to see green in Eastern UP, near my home town of Varanasi. Is it because of huge migration of labour?

  10. I think the biggest objection that may be levied against this study is that nominal educational attainment isn’t a good measure of economic success. So the fact that the children finished primary school while the parents never went to school doesn’t necessarily mean higher intergenerational mobility. Consider that 3700 PHDs and 50,000 graduates applied for the post of a peon/messenger whose minimum qualification was knowing how to ride a bicycle. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/over-93000-candidates-including-3700-phd-holders-apply-for-peon-job-in-up/articleshow/65604396.cms?from=mdr

    An extreme example for sure but all of these people would have shown up as highly upwardly mobile (or maintaining their social status) in this study. Same with a person who does the exact work as his parents (say agricultural/manual labour) but had attended primary education (like all his peers- the rate is now >96%) unlike their parents.

    The authors know this but considers other metrics like income and consumption (and ownership of consumer goods) as inferior. I sort of get the reasoning for the former (impossible to measure income accurately) but not the latter.

  11. I think more than the riots and individual crimes that many in Pakistan like to bring up when talking about the wisdom of partition, analyses like these provide compelling evidence of why the violence aside, partition was an understandable choice for the Muslim majority regions of British India.

    The trajectory of the Scheduled Castes clearly indicates how critical representation in the civilian bureaucracy, legislature and other state positions is for the upward mobility and modernization of any community in South Asia. That this is the case is probably because of the peculiar modernization trajectory of South Asian elites under the Raj (military service or bureaucracy rather than entrepreneurship). It seems to be the case that only successful government employees become aspirational role models who can reshape the destinies of the rest of their communities.

    While some may argue whether Pakistani Muslims have enjoyed more mobility than Indian ones, it is clear that Muslims in a united India would continue to be severely underrepresented in the bureaucracy. This would have been the case even in Muslim majority regions with Hindus controlling government jobs and business and having an overwhelming majority in the centre.

    Any failure for mobility amongst Pakistani Muslims is therefore only the result of internal politics, which is ultimately in the hands of Pakistani Muslims to resolve, rather than at the mercy of a Hindu dominated centre.

    1. The idea of scheduled castes was a catastrophe. I think all non socio-economic based affirmative action in the world should be banned immediately other than for two groups of people
      —people of Sub-Saharan African ancestry
      —Palestinians, but not now; only as a bribe for a final forever peace agreement with Israel which involves Palestinians taking a blood oath to protect Israel from her enemies, even if every Palestinian dies in the process. Palestinians also take a solemn oath to never, ever complain about Israelis no matter the provocation. Only Palestine Israel best friends forever and evers.

      This should apply across North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia and Australasia.

      China and India should each contribute over 100,000 college seats to people of Sub-Saharan African ancestry (and Palestinians, contingent on a final peace agreement) as part of it. No set asides for muslims, scheduled classes or anyone else. All other affirmative action, scheduled seats are based only on socio-economic criteria.

      All global affirmative action, scheduled seats for people based on Sub-Saharan African ancestry should be banned 100 years from now.

      All global affirmative action, scheduled seats for Palestinians should be banned 200 years from now.

      After this, no more global affirmative action, scheduled seats for anyone except based on socio-economic status.

      1. Cant see how you can say this as a comment on a post which literally talks about how scheduled castes have seen substantial upward mobility.

        Reservations are about representation, not poverty alleviation.

Comments are closed.

Brown Pundits