ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Caste and Economic DiscriminationSubscribe to Caste and Economic Discrimination

The Legacy of Social Exclusion

This article examines the prevalence of discrimination in the job application process of private sector enterprises in India. The study is based on a field experiment where authors replied to job advertisements in major English dailies sending three applications to each call - as an upper caste Hindu applicant, as a dalit and as a Muslim. Using statistical analysis they assess the data and find that discriminatory processes operate even at the first stage of the application process.

Caste and Economic Discrimination: Causes, Consequences and Remedies

This paper provides a theoretical introduction to the study of discrimination with particular reference to the caste system. It sets the stage for the four empirical papers that follow, by highlighting the ways in which caste persists as a system of inequality that burdens the Indian economy with inefficiencies in the allocation of labour and other critical resources, reducing the full development of human capital in society. Far from disappearing as the economy modernises, discrimination remains a problem which, for reasons outlined here, is not amenable to self correction, but rather requires interventionist policies to remedy.

Where the Path Leads

This study attempts to trace the differential pathways that dalit and non-dalit students from comparable elite educational backgrounds traverse in their journey from college to work. While the training they receive in the university world is quite comparable, dalit students lack many advantages that turn out to be crucial in shaping their employment outcomes. Dalit students support the affirmative action policy completely, which allows them to break their traditional marginality. Our findings suggest that social and cultural capital (the overlapping of caste, class, family background and networks) matter a great deal in the urban, highly skilled, formal and allegedly meritocratic private sector jobs, where hiring practices are less transparent than appear at first sight.

In the Name of Globalisation

This paper draws on interview data to analyse the attitudes of employers/hiring managers in India's organised private sector towards the caste and community attributes of their potential employees. We focus on the role ascriptive qualities play in employer perceptions of job candidates, arguing that they persist despite a formal adherence to the importance of merit. Antagonism toward reservations, as a mechanism for promoting employment for scheduled castes, is articulated as a principled commitment to the modern virtues of competition and productivity.

Caste Discrimination in the Indian Urban Labour Market: Evidence from the National Sample Survey

This paper uses National Sample Survey data to examine the wage gap between higher castes and the scheduled castes/tribes in the regular salaried urban labour market. The main conclusions we draw are (a) discrimination causes 15 per cent lower wages for SC/STs as compared to equally qualified others; (b) SC/ST workers are discriminated against both in the public and private sectors, but the discrimination effect is much larger in the private sector; (c) discrimination accounts for a large part of the gross earnings difference between the two social groups in the regular salaried urban labour market, with occupational discrimination - unequal access to jobs - being considerably more important than wage discrimination - unequal pay in the same job; and (d) the endowment difference is larger than the discrimination component.
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