Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Intergenerational Mobility in India

Sam Asher
Assistant Professor of International Economics, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 12:00
Center for the Advanced Study of India Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science & Economics 133 South 36th Street, Suite 230 Philadelphia PA 19104-6215

About the Speaker:
Sam Asher is Assistant Professor of International Economics at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University, and cofounder of Development Data Lab. Development Data Lab works with governments, firms, and civil society organizations to generate policy-relevant knowledge from their underused data. Sam's research seeks to understand the microeconomic determinants of economic growth, urbanization, and economic opportunity for the poor. Together with Paul Novosad, he has built a high spatial resolution data platform and new analytic tools to analyze economic development at the local level in India. Current projects are examining the causes and consequences of educational mobility, segregation, and frictions preventing workers from moving to greater opportunities across India's 600,000 towns and villages.

About the Lecture:
Estimating intergenerational mobility in developing countries is difficult 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. Prof. Asher resolves these problems using new methods in partial identification and new administrative data, and studies 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 contest the conventional wisdom that marginalized groups in India have been catching up on average. He also explores heterogeneity across space, generating the first high-resolution geographic measures of intergenerational mobility across India, with results across 5,600 rural subdistricts and 2,300 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.

*Lunch will be served*

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