Working Paper
On the ‘Inclusiveness’ of India’s Consumption Expenditure Growth

This paper reviews the evidence on the ‘inclusiveness’ of the growth in consumption expenditure that has occurred in India over the last four decades or so. The notion of dynamic inclusiveness is framed in terms of imagined normative allocations of the inter-temporal product of growth, as dictated by notions of equity of varying orders of demandingness. There are analytical parallels between these exercises and those involved in the study of bankruptcy in ‘Talmudic estate problems’, as well as in the determination of optimal anti-poverty budgetary allocations. The issue of inclusive growth is reviewed in this paper with respect to inclusiveness across both income classes and social groups such as caste and occupation. The results of the investigation undertaken in the essay suggest distressingly little evidence of inclusiveness in India’s consumption growth experience.