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

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Explaining Village-level Development Trajectories through Schooling in Karnataka

This paper develops and explores a methodology for explaining development trajectories at the village-level. Using data from the Censuses of 2001 and 2011, and qualitative and quantitative data from three purposively selected villages in North Karnataka, it asks why literacy rates and schooling vary considerably in geographically proximate villages. In advancing an explanation, the paper attends to what has been termed the micro-macro problem in analytical sociology as well as the problem of spatial variability, neither of which has been systematically addressed in the literature on rural change in India. The data and methodology used here help identify two social mechanisms--livelihoods enhancement practices and social cooperation--which together explain why one village (Chennooru) experiences stable and higher levels of schooling relative to its neighbours where either livelihoods enhancement practices are absent (Valasooru) or there is a lack of social cooperation (Banadooru). The approach and analysis in the paper imply that attention to social mechanisms aids the crafting of more robust policies on schooling and development.

Fieldwork was made possible through a grant from Azim Premji University. Fieldwork data collection was done by Indira Patil as part of a research project at Azim Premji University. We thank Azim Premji Foundation (Yadgir District Institute) for facilitating the fi eldwork. We also thank Umashankar Periodi, Giridhara Vaidya, Krishnayya T, Rudresh S, Devaraj Kodabala and Suresh Goudar for their assistance during the fi eldwork, and Bhavyashree Jain, Fathima Begum, Annapoorna, Asha and Shruti for conducting the survey. Above all, we thank all the villagers of Chennooru, Valasooru and Banadooru for welcoming us and sharing their experiences. A longer version of this paper is available upon request.

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