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

InequalitySubscribe to Inequality

Household Consumption Expenditure Inequality in Rural India (1993–94 to 2011–12)

The comparative role of determinants of household-level consumption expenditure inequalities (henceforth, inequalities) in rural India between two sub-periods, 1994–2005 and 2005–12 are examined, using three rounds of the National Sample Survey Consumer Expenditure Survey. The changes in the components of consumption expenditure and population characteristics are explored that explain inequalities during the two sub-periods, which represent distinct policy environments. We use both a priori and regression-based decomposition methods for the analysis. We find that there is a complete reversal of the role of education in explaining inequalities. It shifted from being an inequality-increasing factor during 1994–2005 to an inequality-equalising factor during 2005–12. This reversal is induced by decreasing consumption returns to education due to the depressed job market. The role of locational factors has increased in explaining the increase in inequalities over time. The non-food components induce an increase in the overall inequalities via an increased expenditure on durables. The within-group component contributes the most to the level of and change in inequalities.

Durable Growth Revival

The recent growth recovery has been uneven as is visible across different sectors of the economy and different segments of the population. This unevenness is hurting the consumption of lower-income households and private investments, which are vital for sustained or durable growth.

Should We Abolish the Minimum Wage?

While heated debates persist in developed countries regarding the continuation of the minimum wage laws, they still remain popular around the world. Unemployment concerns around the minimum wage fade away when the monopsony nature of the labour market is taken into consideration. Given the distinct nature of workers earning minimum wages in low-income countries when compared to high-income ones, it remains significantly effective in tackling inequality in the former. The job polarisation because of the labour-replacing technologies of today underlines the importance of such a measure. Thus, there is still a need for minimum wage, more so for low-income countries.

Market-induced Global Inequalities

Excessive dependence on markets can result in even greater inequality and warped outcomes.

Need for Equalising Endowments

The article notes that the persistence of inequality, as observed over two centuries, undoubtedly points towards its origins in endowments, which perpetuates inequality in such a consistent manner. The lesson derived from this scrutiny highlights the need for focusing on equalising endowments, particularly the intangible ones, to sustain betterment and attain convergence in the economic landscape.

Regional Variations in Multidimensional Poverty

Regional variations in multidimensional poverty and inequality are analysed for the two different administrative regions of Tripura—village committees under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council and gram panchayats under the panchayati raj institutions—using a primary survey. Special emphasis is laid on the deprivations of households with regard to health, education, and the standard of living across these two administrative regions as well as the rural development blocks. The level of multidimensional poverty and incidence appears to be higher in village committees than gram panchayats even though the average deprivation among the poor is around 40% for both the areas with robust between-group inequality.

Caste Dimensions of Poverty and Wealth

Large income and asset deficits disempower the disadvantaged castes.

Tax Privileges Undermine Tax Equity

The Pandora Papers reiterate how tax havens continue to derail the global tax system.

Global Unemployment and Inequality during 1991–2019

Based on secondary data, the paper discusses the changes in global unemployment and inequality between 1991 and 2019. The analysis reveals that the rate of unemployment and incidence of inequality have either increased or remained stubbornly high in almost all the countries under study...

Making Data Count

The Uncounted by Alex Cobham, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2020; pp 227, price not mentioned.

Sustaining the Sustainable Development Goals

This article critiques the framework used for assessing the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals and their comparison across states. While acknowledging the novel intention of such an exercise, the article argues for the need to ensure scientific rigour and improve the validity of the...

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