Institute for Social and Economic Change

Working Paper: 361

Social Exclusion and Caste Discrimination in Public and Private Sectors in India: A Decomposition Analysis

Smrutirekha Singhari
S Madheswaran



This paper provides an empirical analysis of caste discrimination in regular salaried urban labour market in India. A separate analysis has been done for the public and private sector workers because the affirmative action policy of India confined only to the minuscule of the public sector and excluded the vast private sector. We have used 50th, 61st and 68th rounds of Employment and Unemployment Survey data of NSSO in order to examine the wage gap between the forward-caste (others) and lower-caste (Scheduled Castes - SC) workers. The main conclusions based on decomposition methodology are: (a) the contribution of endowment difference to raw wage gap is more than that of discrimination. So expansion of educational opportunity can be a useful strategy to reduce such discriminatory treatment against SCs; (b) discrimination causes 19.4 and 31.7 percent lower wages for SCs in the public and private sectors respectively as compared to equally qualified forward castes (c) occupational discrimination-unequal access to jobs- being considerably more important than wage discrimination in both public and private sectors in India. The empirical findings provide strong evidence for the extension of Affirmative Action policy to the private sector.


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