Political Economy of Caste Diversity in India | Shiv Nadar University
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Political Economy of Caste Diversity in India

Extensive evidence in the economics and political science literature has linked social divisions in the society with a range of negative outcomes, notably lower provision of public goods,  slower economic growth, conflict, lower collective action and a breakdown of trading opportunities. The aim of the thesis is to add new dimensions to this literature by focusing on caste  dynamics in India and studying how interaction among caste groups can impact the provision  and distribution of resources. Additionally, if the caste identity is reinforced by economic divisions, how can it influence social and political stability. The first chapter sets the context of the  thesis by presenting the overlap between caste and various economic outcomes. The findings indicate the long shadow that caste still casts on attainment of economic and social outcomes. The second chapter focuses on a marginalised social group, Scheduled Tribes (STs), which  has participated in Maoist insurgency to address its long-dated grievance over rising socioeconomic inequality between STs and other social groups. The objective is to study whether  providing local autonomy to STs over issues important to them can contain violent rebellion movements. Findings suggest that the policy which introduced local self-governing institution in tribal areas was implemented inefficiently and served the interest of only a select few. This accentuated the grievances of STs and increased their participation in violent movements. The third chapter studies caste diversity, per se and looks at how a lower tendency for collective action in diverse places can negatively affect the provision of private and public schools. This  result has important implications for achieving desirable education outcomes in a diverse country like India. The fourth chapter shows that lack of provision of education facilities in diverse  areas can affect poor more than the rich leading to second order negative impacts of diversity in terms of high inequality. The contribution of this thesis is to show how social diversity, when reinforced by economic divisions, can lead to a range of developmental, economic and political problems.