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Indian Muslims biggest losers in intergenerational mobility index: Study

Defining Muslims as the “least upwardly mobile group in India”, the study makes the damning claim that the situation is worse than that of African Americans.

Friday September 21, 2018 11:29 AM, News Network

Indian Muslim Growth

New Delhi: India’s growth has made almost everyone a lot better off, but Muslims are the biggest losers in the intergenerational mobility index, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have done better on the index while upper castes and OBCs have remained where they were, according to a latest study.

The study, which looks at social groups and intergenerational mobility concludes that, overall, there is little inter-generational mobility and it has not changed even after economic liberalisation. It, however, concludes that some mobility made possible for Dalits and Scheduled Tribes has been offset by severely declining mobility for Muslims, The Indian Express reported Friday.

Authors of the study are Sam Asher, of the World Bank; Paul Novosad of Dartmouth College and Charlie Rafkin of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The study also says that mobility levels for African Americans in US are better than those for Muslims in India but the movement of Dalits and Scheduled Tribes is comparable to that of African-Americans. It finds that South India is overall more inclusive, as is urban India and that education acts as a booster of prospects.

“On average, children are most successful at exiting the bottom of the distribution in places that are southern, urban, or have higher average education levels", the study based on 5,600 rural sub-districts and 2,300 cities and towns, finds.

Inter-generational mobility is about change of status across generations, and change of this economic status is a useful measure for describing “changes in access to opportunity over the long run”. But the study also recognises the perils of looking at just economic data or educational indicators as proxies of status mobility.

“From before liberalization to the present, we find that intergenerational mobility for India as a whole has remained constant on average, but with considerably cross-group heterogeneity. While our results reinforce earlier findings of rising opportunity among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that have been noted by other authors, we find that these changes are almost exactly offset in the population as a whole by declining upward mobility among Muslims", the authors note in the summary.

Defining Muslims as the “least upwardly mobile group in India”, the study makes the damning claim that the situation is worse than that of African Americans. In the US, while those born at the bottom half of an education distribution on average tend to get to the 34th percentile, Muslims can expect to only get to the 28th, something they term as “really low.”

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