ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Social Inequality, Labour Market Dynamics and Reservation

This paper brings two new elements to the debate around expanding reservation in centres of excellence in higher education. First, it separately estimates upper caste Hindu profiles in education (dropout and completion rates), employment and relative incomes and establishes that UCHs are significantly better off in all these parameters than scheduled tribes, scheduled castes and other backward classes. It also establishes that in urban India, ST, SC and OBC have very similar profiles and are at a great distance from the UCHs. In rural India, OBCs are situated in the middle - between ST and SCs on the one hand and UCHs on the other - but again at a significant distance from the latter. Second, it links this privileged positioning of UCHs with changing labour market dynamics in the 1990s and suggests that as a result these castes dominate access to the best jobs in the urban economy. Access to high quality tertiary education has then become key to accessing the most dynamic segment of a decelerating labour market. It uses evidence from both of these to intervene in the current debate around expanding reservations to OBCs in public institutions of higher learning and argues that the above make expanding reservation imperative

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