Growth, Openness, and the Socially Disadvantaged
Critics argue that even as poverty has fallen in aggregate, it has risen among the socially disadvantage groups such as the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). The paper challenges these critics by studying the evolution of poverty within the SC, ST, and Non-Scheduled castes over the four thick expenditure surveys conducted in 1983, 1987-88, 1993-94, and 2004-5. The authors find that poverty ratio actually fell for every single group between every two successive surveys in rural and urban areas. During the twenty-one years covered by the study, poverty declined by twenty percentage points for the SC and eighteen percentage points for the ST. The authors also find the poverty levels among different social groups to decline in all major states. They find no evidence whatsoever in favor of the hypothesis that rising incomes or openness have adversely impacted poverty among any one of the groups. As in chapter 4, they find that one or more measures of openness have had a statistically significant and favorable impact on poverty levels in the SC and NS in rural and urban regions and both regions taken together. As regards the ST, they find statistically significant effect of openness on poverty in urban areas only.
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