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

Markets and Social Institutions: Survey of Dalit Households

In 2008-09 CASI conducted a survey of approximately 20,000 Dalit households in rural Uttar Pradesh and subsequently a smaller sample in villages in Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan (in 2010-2011), to see how Dalits’ lives have changed since the onset of India’s market reforms in 1991.  Since the survey was designed and implemented by Dalits, its findings – that there had been significant improvements in well-being – has had greater legitimacy and provided crucial insights on the effects of market reforms on the community. It also has led policy makers to pay serious attention to CASI’s work. CASI is currently working on a paper on the broader implications of these results, namely the relationship between markets and social institutions.   

Photo by Emily Wax, The Washington Post

Research Affiliates

Chandra Bhan Prasad

Journalist and Columnist

CASI Fall 2007 Visiting Scholar



D. Shayam Babu

Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research

CASI Spring 2009 Visiting Scholar



Lant Pritchett

Professor of the Practice of International Development

Co-Chair MPA/ID Program

Harvard Kennedy School



Related Publications

"Capitalism’s Assault on the Indian Caste System: How Economic Liberalization Spawned Low-Caste Dalit Millionaires," Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar. CATO Institute, Policy Analysis, No. 776. July 21, 2015

"Markets and Manu: Economic Reforms and Its Impact on Caste in India." Chandra Bhan Prasad

"Rethinking Inequality: Dalits in Uttar Pradesh in the Market Reform Era," Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XLV (35): 39-49, August 28, 2010 (with Chandra Bhan Prasad, Lant Pritchett, and D. Shyam Babu)

Media Coverage

Crusader Sees Wealth as Cure for Caste Bias, Somini Sengupta, The New York Times, August 29, 2008

In an Indian Village, Signs of the Loosening Grip of Caste, Emily Wax, The Washington Post, August 31, 2008

Study claiming liberalization helped Dalits stokes debate, Live Mint, December 2, 2009