NOVAFRICA Seminar: “Long Run Intergenerational Mobility in India: New Estimates from Administrative Data”

On Wednesday, March 13, at 2.30 pm, the NOVAFRICA Center welcomes Sam Asher, from the World Bank, to present his work on long run intergenerational mobility in India.

Sam Asher, World Bank.


Intergenerational mobility is a useful measure for describing long run changes in access to opportunity, but it is difficult to measure in developing countries because matched parent-child income records are rarely available and education is measured very coarsely. In particular, there are no established methods for comparing educational mobility for subsamples of the population when the education distribution is changing over time. We resolve these problems using new methods in partial identification and new administrative data, and study intergenerational mobility across groups and across space in India. Intergenerational mobility for the population as a whole has remained constant since liberalization, but cross-group changes have been substantial. Rising mobility among historically marginalized Scheduled Castes is almost exactly offset by declining intergenerational mobility among Muslims, a comparably sized group that has few constitutional protections. These findings suggest a substantial revision of the conventional wisdom regarding the well documented relative gains of Scheduled Castes, as well as India’s long-run policies targeting Scheduled Castes and Tribes. We also explore heterogeneity across space, generating the first high resolution geographic measures of intergenerational mobility across India, with results across 5600 rural subdistricts and 2300 cities and towns. On average, children are most successful at exiting the bottom of the distribution in places that are southern, urban, or have higher average education levels.

Find more about this seminar here.