What is to be Done?

Ashwani Deshpande

in The Grammar of Caste

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780198072034
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081028 | DOI:
What is to be Done?

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This chapter discusses the Indian affirmative action (AA) programme, which primarily takes the form of caste-based quotas. Unlike in the US context, which has produced empirical studies of the productivity impact of AA, for India not a single study has empirically examined the relationship between AA and efficiency or productivity of the enterprise. The first effort to redress this gap was a study by Deshpande and Weisskopf (2010). Examining data from the Indian Railways for 23 years over eight zones, it was shown that AA had no adverse effect on productivity or total output. In some cases, the presence of quota employees in the highest decision-making jobs has a positive impact, confirming the results from several of the US studies.

Keywords: affirmative action programme; inter-group disparity; OBC quota; India; empirical studies; efficiency; productivity; Indian Railways; quota employees; creamy layer; equal opportunity; quota-based approach; diversity index

Chapter.  21216 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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