UBC Theses and Dissertations
Caste, religious conflict and economic development : the Indian experience Roy Chaudhuri, Arka
This thesis aims to understand the economic and political changes in India and how it affects different marginalized groups in India. It looks at the effects of mandated political representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the effect of British colonization on Hindu-Muslim conflict in post-Independent India and the evolution of economic conditions of Muslims in India in the past three decades. The first research chapter looks at the effect of political quotas for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes on households belonging to these groups. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes form some of the most disadvantaged groups in India. I exploit the policy rule mandating reservations for these groups to identify the effect of political representation of these groups. I find that for Scheduled Caste politicians effectively target narrow based public goods such as participation in workfare program to members of their own ethnic groups but do not do so for broad based public goods such as health, education and access to subsidized food grains. The second research chapter looks at the effect of British colonization on post-Independence religious conflict in India. British colonialism has often been blamed for the worsening of Hindu-Muslim relations. Comparing districts ruled by native kings with districts which were ruled directly by the British, I find no adverse effect of British colonialism. The third research chapter looks at the evolution of the economic conditions of Muslims in the last three decades-a period which has been characterized by rapid economic growth in India. I compare Muslims with non-Muslims in education, occupation choice, wages and consumption expenditure. I find that Muslims are worse off compared to non-Muslims and this relative deprivation gets more acute over time.
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