NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Trade and Inequality in India

Pravin Krishna, Guru Sethupathy

NBER Working Paper No. 17257
Issued in July 2011
NBER Program(s):   ITI

To study the effects of the dramatic economic reforms undertaken in India in the early 1990s on inequality, this paper examines Theil inequality as well as other inequality measures constructed using Indian household expenditure survey data from 1988-2005. Overall inequality shows some variation over the period, falling between 1988 and 1994, rising between 1994 and 2000, but falling again by 2005. The evolution of inequality in the post reform period is thus non-monotonic. A similar inequality trend is seen within most Indian states over this time period. Finally, the change in inequality across households within states is found to be uncorrelated with the change in state-level measures of tariff and non-tariff protection.

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