Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 230–246

The Effect of Family Background on Individual Wages and an Examination of Inequality of Opportunity in India


DOI: 10.1007/s12122-010-9090-5

Cite this article as:
Singh, A. J Labor Res (2010) 31: 230. doi:10.1007/s12122-010-9090-5


The paper attempts to explore the role of family background in contributing to the overall economic inequality in Indian society. Drawing on the recent work on equality of opportunity, and using the Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS, 2004–05), paper finds that the opportunity share of inequality in wage earnings in India ranges from 11% to 17% across different age based cohorts. Given the conservative view of what constitutes responsibility, the analysis is likely to identify only the lower bound of opportunity inequality. The paper also calls for redistributive policies favoring those who suffer from inferior circumstances.


Inequality of opportunityFamily backgroundLabor marketWage earnings inequalityIndia

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indira Gandhi Institute of Development ResearchMumbaiIndia