Rise and Fall of Between-State Inequalities in Demographic Progress in India: Application of “Inequality Life Cycle Hypothesis”

Srinivas Goli, Mohammad Zahid Siddiqui


The objectives of this study are: first, to test the “inequality life cycle hypothesis” in the context of long-term demographic progress in India, and second, to identify the different stages of between-state inequality transition in the demographic progress and to predict its future pattern. We used direct estimates of demographic indicators from sample registration system for post-1971 and indirect estimates from various sources for pre-1971. We used a two-part methodology: First, we re-constructed the layout of “inequality life cycle  hypothesis” to illustrate the evolutionary perspective of betweenstate inequalities in demographic progress. Secondly, we used standard deviations to obtain estimates of between-state inequalities in demographic indicators. The empirical verification of the long-term pattern of between-state inequalities in India revealed that the behaviour of inequalities is the same for all three demographic indicators selected:they were low in the pre-transition phase, then rose in the initial phase of progressive transition and started declining in later phases of progressive transition. Based on the projected findings, we can expect that by the time of post-demographic transition phase, between-state inequalities will return to their steady state equilibrium. This study provides a generalized framework for understanding the behaviour of betweenstate inequalities in the demographic variables in India.

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