Beyond Poverty Escapes: On Social Mobility in Contemporary India
Join us for an afternoon December seminar with Dr. Vegard Iversen, on social mobility in India. We will serve gingerbread cookies and mulled wine (gløgg).
Social mobility may refer to income-based, occupational or educational mobility -- typically from one generation to the next -- and ideally based on nationally representative data-sets. For India, there are major disagreements between research findings using NSSO (successive rounds) and IHDS-data (round 1 and 2) and in research conducted by economists and sociologists. Following a brief attempt to disentangle these disagreements, touching on data, methodological and practice-related contrasts and limitations, Iversen will illustrate that in spite of much recent progress, poverty escapes in India tend to be marginal and fragile. The prevalence and underpinnings of moderate and long range (‘distance on the ladder’) upward individual mobility (and the role of e.g. social identity, location and education for such achievements) will then be explored, comparing India with other countries at similar stages of the development process - now and historically. After highlighting contrasts and (unexpected) similarities between India and China, the very high prevalence of long range descents (downward mobility) raises important new questions about the effectiveness and limitations of quotas and affirmative action policies to compensate for historical disadvantage. The talk will conclude by suggesting directions for future research.
Vegard Iversen is Senior Research Fellow (Hon), Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, as well as Adjunct Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, and Editor of Journal of South Asian Development (JSAD).