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

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Some Normatively Relevant Aspects of Inter-State and Intra-State Disparities

While inequality in per capita state domestic product in India tends to increase, state-level indicators of human development show decreasing dispersion for the obvious reason that the standard outcome indicators of health or education have natural upper limits. Does it mean that instead of worrying about disparity in social indicators we should rather focus on disparity in per capita income? This paper argues that there are certain relevant aspects of disparity in non-income dimensions across and within states. In the context of resource allocation by a federal government among sub-national entities, the paper examines the ethical implications of two well-known allocation rules, population-weighted utilitarianism and leximin, and argues that the implications are not the same across evaluative spaces. It then examines if the actual resource allocation for human development in India conforms to some normative criteria.

I am grateful to Prasanta Pattanaik for valuable suggestions.

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