World renowned Social Scientists write to ‘The Economist’


From The Economist print edition

India’s labour divisions

SIR – Your briefing on business and caste in India claims there is “no strong evidence” that companies discriminate against dalits and other members of the lower castes (“With reservations”, October 6th). Our two-year study, which we will soon present, found widespread discrimination against highly qualified low-caste individuals. We sent out 4,800 applications in response to advertisements for graduate jobs in Indian and multinational companies. These applicants bore distinctively upper-caste names, Muslim names and dalit surnames, but were otherwise identical in educational qualifications and work experience.
The odds of a dalit being invited for an interview were about two-thirds of the odds of a high-caste applicant with the same qualifications. The odds of a Muslim applicant being invited to an interview were even worse: only one-third as often as the high-caste Hindu counterpart.

The evidence is solid. Serious policies, coupled with an overhaul of India’s education system, are required to overcome this pernicious form of social exclusion. Maybe then the widespread relegation to the bottom of the barrel of India’s poorest castes will begin to diminish.

with rgds,
Paul Attewell, Professor of sociology, City University of New York, New York

Katherine Newman, Professor of sociology, Princeton University,Princeton, New Jersey

* Atrocitynews team has sought the permission from Dr Katherine Newman for presenting the four scholarly papers to the readers. Thanks to them and special courtsey to Economic & Political Weekly !

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