Who Gets Good Jobs? Exploring the Nature of Competition And Social Exclusion in India

Sonalde B. Desai, University of Maryland
James Noon, University of Maryland

In recent years, discourse about the Indian middle class has caught the public’s imagination. However, two different stories are simultaneously being told. According to one, the high rate of economic growth has affected all sections of society resulting in a large number of people moving from poverty into the middle class. The second, however, focuses on the elitist nature of this growth suggesting that the Indian middle class has become increasingly insular with its perks reserved for the privileged sections of society. This paper focuses on whether economic growth has opened opportunities for all or whether higher paying occupations are restricted to a privileged few. Utilizing a new, comprehensive national survey of 41,500 households, the India Human Development Survey 2005 (IHDS), we show that in this situation, personal resources above and beyond human capital are of great help to jobseekers. In particular, social and cultural capital critically affect job outcomes.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 3