Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vamsi Vakulabharanam on Inequality in India

Does Class Matter? Class Structure and Worsening Inequality in India. Abstract:
"Does class structure matter in understanding the increasing inequality in India during the period of economic liberalisation? There is now clear evidence from the National Sample Survey quinquennial household consumer expenditure surveys conducted in 1993-94 and 2004-05 that increased distance between urban elites (owners, managers and professionals), rural rentier classes (such as moneylenders and absentee landlords) that are more stratified at the top, and unskilled urban workers, marginal farmers and agricultural workers, who are increasingly more stratified at the bottom, helps us understand the distributional dynamics of the Indian growth story. This paper analyses the class structures in India and decomposes the overall inequality into inter-class and intra-class terms. It explains these changes by analysing the Indian policies during this period."

There seem to be some similarities with Matthew Yglesias's comments that Bruce Wilder quotes in the post Economic Conditions and Election Outcomes :
". . . the only items that make it onto the public agenda are ones that feature a rough balance of money and lobbying clout. That means that if you want to do something that’s helpful to low-income people—something like the Affordable Care Act—the only way to do it is to structure it as something that’s very helpful to a subset of business interests. Well-intentioned politicians can and do shape this dynamic in a way that’s more helpful to the little guy, but they don’t fundamentally alter the dynamic."

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