Caste, Gender and Interaction of Caste and Gender based Inequalities in Educational Expenditure of Indian Primary School Children: Changes across Time and Regions

Singh, Ashish (2016). 'Caste, Gender and Interaction of Caste and Gender based Inequalities in Educational Expenditure of Indian Primary School Children: Changes across Time and Regions' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

topics: Gender, Inclusion and Exclusion, Inequality and Justice

abstract: Inequality in percapita educational expenditure is very high in India. Also, the contribution of inequality associated with educational expenditure to the total consumption expenditure has increased substantially during 1993-2010 period (Singh et al. 2015). High inequality in educational expenditure can be directly related to high inequality in kind and quality of schooling as well as in access to other skill acquiring services; therefore high inequalities associated with educational expenditure would result in high inequalities in skills acquired which will in turn translate into high inequality in wages or income in future.  Though some evidence is available on the per capita educational expenditure in the Indian context, there is hardly any evidence on inequality in overall educational expenditure (as well as its constituents such as school fees, private tuitions, books, transportation, other materials etc.) of primary school children in general and caste as well gender based inequality in the same in particular. The extant literature on human capital formation argues that early childhood education plays a dominant role  in cognitive ability formation, overall educational achievement and overall skills development (Cunha and Heckman, 2007). Therefore if there are high vertical and horizontal inequalities in educational expenditure of primary school children,  it is bound to result in higher inequalities in overall skill development, overall educational attainment and future wages of these children on one hand and increase in income/wealth inequality in India on the other. We therefore in this paper use data from the nationally representative Indian Human Development Surveys (2004-05 and 2011-12) to estimate (for children aged 5-11 years): i) overall inequality in total educational expenditure as well as its components; ii) caste, gender and interaction of caste and gender based inequality in overall educational expenditure as well as its components; iii) regional variation in the above inequalities; and iv) changes in the above inequalities over time. We use Gini, Group-weighted Gini (as proposed in Stewart et al., 2010) and Dissimilarity indices for the estimation of inequalities. The geographical region is categorized into six categories: North, Central, East, North-East, West, and South. The Northern region comprises the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttaranchal, Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan. The states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Chattisgarh come under the Central region. The Eastern region comprises the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Orissa. The North-Eastern region includes the seven north-eastern sister states, namely Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, and Sikkim. The Western region includes the states of Maharashtra, Goa, and Gujarat. Finally, the Southern region comprises the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Pondicherry. The Northern region has been taken as the reference category. The above categorization is based on the categorization followed by the National Family Health Surveys of India (IIPS and ORC Macro, 2007). The primary results indicate that the overall, caste based and gender based inequality in total educational expenditure of 5-11 years children is extremely high.  The overall inequality (Gini) in total educational expenditure has increased by 6% (from 0.66 to 0.70) over the study period. The overall inequality (Gini) - in school fees has remained same (0.82);  in books, uniform, other materials and transportation has increased from 0.59 to 0.65); and in private tuition fees has decreased from 0.92 to 0.88 - over the study period. The caste based inequality (based on group-weighted gini) in total educational expenditure has decreased (from 0.19 to 0.10) during 2004 to 2012. Whereas, gender based inequality (based on group-weighted gini) in educational expenditure, has increased by 25% over the study period. The overall, caste based and gender based inequality is highest in private tuition fees. Further, there is large inter-regional variation in the above inequalities. Moreover, it is surprising to note that the inequalities are higher in the demographically and economically advanced regions of South and West. In addition, there is no clear cut trend in gender based inequality across different castes, although there is substantial variation across the castes. References: Cunha, F. and Heckman, J.J. (2007) The technology of skill formation, American Economic Review, 97 (2), 31-47. IIPS and ORCMacro (2007) National Family Health Survey 2005-06, India. Mumbai: International Institute for Population Sciences and Macro International. Singh, A., Kumar, K. and Singh, A. (2015) The Changing Structure of Inequality in India, 1993-2010: Some Observations and Consequences, Economics Bulletin, 35(1): 590-603 Stewart, F., Brown, G., & Mancini, L. (2010). Monitoring and Measuring Horizontal Inequalities. Oxford: Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity.

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