Rags to Riches? Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in India

Vegard Iversen, Anirudh Krishna, Kunal Sen

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The paper examines intergenerational occupational mobility in India among males. This analysis differs from previous work in three important respects. First, a finer-grained categorisation that takes into account differences in skill levels across occupations as well as India’s social hierarchy of labour is used. Second, both large and moderate ascents and descents are examined. Third, the situation in India with mobility patterns at other times and in other countries is compared. The results show vast differences in the upward and downward mobility prospects of urban and rural residents and upper-caste Hindus versus Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The findings also reveal that downward mobility risks loom large in India and that mobility patterns in India and China appear remarkably similar.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalEconomic and Political Weekly
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2017


  • occupational mobility, caste, India

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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