In the media
How India’s socio-economic fabric has changed? Business Standard article cites findings from a recent WIDER Working Paper

India’s leading business daily, Business Standard, published an article on India’s socio-economic changes. It highlights findings from a set of recently published research, that explores various aspects of socio-economic changes that India has seen over the past decade. Among the cited studies, the article highlights findings from a new WIDER Working Paper The Power to Choose: Gender Balance of Power & Intra-Household Educational Spending in India by Christophe Nordman and UNU-WIDER's Research Fellow Smriti Sharma.

In their study Nordman and Sharma utilize novel data from the India Human Development Survey (IHDS). The IDHS –in comparison to national surveys that tend to focus on a single theme, collects information on a plethora of socio-economic indicators such as income, employment, education, health, well-being and other parameters. It also allows study of the same households over time. The first round, in 2004-05, covered 41,554 households, and 2011-12, the second round re-interviewed 83 per cent of the original households.

The article by Business Standard  summarizes the key findings from a number of studies that utilize this novel data from the IHDS, including Nordman's and Sharma's paper. The findings about India's socio-economic changes are presented under four broad categories:

  1. Intergenerational mobility. While conventional wisdom has it that rigid caste structures prevent children from switching to occupations different from their parents, a study by Mehtabul Azam suggests that at the aggregate level, occupational mobility has increased in India over the past decade.
  2. Health. While public discourse on health in India largely revolves around issues of under-nutrition and malnutrition, research by Pushkar Maitra and Nidhia Menony shows the proportion of people overweight or obese in India is substantial and growing.
  3. Gender. According to the new paper by Christophe Nordman and Smriti Sharma, education is tied to how much women members matter in households' decision-making. Greater women bargaining power has a significant impact on girls' educational expenditure in urban areas. Interestingly, however, the relationship does not hold in rural areas.
  4. National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). Researchers Sonalde Desai, Prem Vashishtha and Omkar Joshi find that the scheme has ended up improving household welfare in unintended ways; it has reduced the dependence of rural households on high interest loans from moneylenders as well as contributed both directly and indirectly to wage growth.
Read the full article on Business Daily's website: 'How the socio-economic fabric has changed'


Read more and download Christophe Nordman's and Smriti Sharma’s WIDER Working Paper The Power to Choose: Gender Balance of Power & Intra-Household Educational Spending in India.
The paper is part of Discrimination and affirmative actions - what have we learnt so far? project.