ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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How Close Does the Apple Fall to the Tree?

Some Evidence from India on Intergenerational Occupational Mobility

Using data from the India Human Development Survey 2005, this paper examines intergenerational occupational mobility in India, an issue on which very few systematic and rigorous studies exist. It groups individuals into classes and documents patterns of mobility at the rural, urban and all-India levels, and for different caste groups. It finds substantial intergenerational persistence, particularly in the case of low-skilled and low-paying occupations, e g, almost half the children of agricultural labourers end up becoming agricultural labourers. The paper also documents differences across caste groups. Overall, the results suggest considerable inequality of opportunity in India.

For their comments on a previous version, we thank S Chandrasekhar, S Subramanian, Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Tom Weisskopf and seminar participants at the University of Hyderabad and the World Institute for Development Economics Research, Helsinki. We also thank Paul Sommers for providing us with his paper on measures of immobility. This paper was written while Sripad Motiram was a visitor at WIDER, and he is grateful to WIDER for support received during this period.

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