Institute for Social and Economic Change

Working Paper: 454

Who Benefits from Higher Education Expenditure?
Evidence from Recent Household Survey of India

Karnam Gayithri



The paper unveils the pattern of incidence of higher education expenditure across various income groups using household survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) of India. The analysis-based findings suggest that the estimated benefits extensively exceed to the richest income groups than to the poorest income classes. Addition of every other source of disparity to income inequality such as gender, location makes the group that is faced with multiple layers of inequality, vulnerable in terms of availing benefits from public education. Comparison of benefit incidence across various levels of education calls for greater attention for promoting well-targeted higher education subsidies. The findings, an account of ‘marginal incidence analysis’, suggest that the expansion of public higher education has begun to percolate the benefits though rather slowly, to the poor and hence, even a minute effort towards curtailing its expansion would lead to humongous loss for the poor.

Working Papers