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Inter-Group Inequalities in Child Undernutrition in India: Group Analogue of the Gini Coefficient and Atkinson's Index
Authors: William Joe , Udaya S. Mishra, and K. Navaneetham
Source: Oxford Development Studies, 41(2): 239-257; DOI: 10.1080/13600818.2013.796353
Topic(s): Child health
Health equity
Country: Asia
Published: JUN 2013
Abstract: Studies of undernutrition in India (and elsewhere) have focused exclusively on interpersonal inequalities, and estimates of the magnitude of inter-group inequalities are unavailable. A focus on “horizontal”, or group-based, inequalities offers vital policy insights that would be lost in an approach based purely on interpersonal inequalities. We therefore apply the group analogues of Atkinson's index and the Gini coefficient to shed light on the disproportionate burden of undernourishment borne by rural and historically vulnerable caste groups. Furthermore, the prominent determinants of inter-group disparities are identified through Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition analysis. The paper calls for explicit targeting of backward castes across the country and improved inter-sectoral collaboration to ensure equitable access to education, health care and water and sanitation, particularly across underdeveloped regions.