Data for Development
December 2019
W elcome to the India Human Development Survey Forum

A monthly update of socio-economic developments in India by the
IHDS research community

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  Key Findings on Women’s Issues by the IHDS Team:
The India Human Development Survey (IHDS) continues to engage and inspire researchers throughout the world because of the vast array of data it offers through its spectrum of health, education, economy, family, and gender modules for both urban and rural samples across the country.

This edition of the newsletter pinpoints significant findings by the IHDS team related to the issues of women’s education and employment—two areas that offer constant challenges to female empowerment and autonomy.

  • In the first paper, the authors find that with rising education among women across the world, educational hypergamy (women marrying men with higher education) has decreased over the last few decades in both developed and developing countries. Based on data from IHDS (2011–12), the paper instead documents a considerable rise in hypogamy (women marrying partners with lower education) during the past four decades.
  • Using data from two waves of the IHDS in 2004–05 and 2011—12, as well as from the NSS, the second paper examines various optimistic and pessimistic explanations for the substantial decline in women’s work participation rates, especially in the rural areas of the country.

  • Recent publications using IHDS
Research Findings Based on IHDS Data

The Emergence of Educational Hypogamy in India
Zhiyong Lin, Sonalde Desai, and Feinian Chen 

With rising education among women across the world, educational hypergamy (women marrying men with higher education) has decreased over the last few decades in both developed and developing countries. While a decrease in hypergamy is often accompanied by increasing homogamy (women marrying men with equal levels of education), the paper’s analyses for India, based on the India Human Development Survey (2011-2012), a nationally representative survey, document a considerable rise in hypogamy (women marrying partners with lower education) during the past four decades. Log-linear analyses further reveal that declining hypergamy is largely generated by the rise in education levels while hypogamous marriages continue to increase even after marginal distributions are taken into account. Further multivariate analyses show that highly educated women tend to marry men with lower education but from more privileged families. Moreover, consanguineous marriages, which exemplify strong cultural constraints on spousal selection in certain parts of India, are more likely to be hypogamous than marriages not related by blood. The authors argue that the rise in hypogamous marriage by education paradoxically reflects deep-rooted gender scripts in India, as other salient social boundaries are much more difficult to cross.  
Zhiyong Lin is a PhD candidate of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a social demographer and medical sociologist studying family dynamics and health inequalities over the life course. One line of his research consists of social determinants of well-being, mostly among older adults. The other strand of his research investigates the changing patterns of intimate relationships in non-Western social contexts undergoing dramatic social transitions. His work has appeared in various journals, including Demography Journal of Health and Social Behavior , Demographic Research, Ageing & Society Ageing & Mental Health , and Chinese Sociological Review.

Sonalde Desai is a demographer whose work deals primarily with social inequalities in developing countries with a particular focus on gender and class inequalities. She studies inequalities in education, employment and maternal and child health outcomes by locating them within the political economy of the region. While much of her research focuses on South Asia, she has also engaged in comparative studies across Asia, Latin America and Sub Saharan Africa. She has published articles in a wide range of sociological and demographic journals including American Sociological Review, Demography, Population and Development Review and Feminist Studies . Dr. Desai is the Director of the India Human Development Survey.
Feinian Chen r eceived her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001 and was trained in social demography at the Carolina Population Center. Her research crosscuts a range of areas in demography, family sociology, aging, and quantitative methodology. Her main research interests include women’s work and family, intergenerational relations, population aging and health, and simulation studies of structural equation models. Her work has been published in the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Demography, Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, and Sociological Methods and Research. Currently she is actively involved in two on-going NIH funded projects on the multidimensional pathways of aging for women in the Philippines and the racial-ethnic differentials in the health implications of grandparenting in the U.S. Dr. Chen is a Primary Investigator on the India Human Development Survey.

The Paradox of Declining Female Work Participation in an Era of Economic Growth

Sonalde Desai and Omkar Joshi

The past three decades have seen the advent of major transformations in the Indian economy. The economy has achieved average growth rates of 5–9 per cent, education has risen sharply for both men and women, fertility rates have declined, and infrastructure facilities, particularly access to electricity, cooking gas and piped water, have improved. All these factors are expected to reduce the demand for women’s time spent in domestic chores and increase their opportunities for paid work. Paradoxically, however, the National Sample Surveys document a substantial decline in women’s work participation rates (WPRs), particularly for rural women. This paper examines diverse optimistic and pessimistic explanations using data from the National Sample Surveys and the India Human Development Surveys (IHDS) for 2004–2005 and 2011–2012, and finds that: (1) The decline in rural women’s work participation recorded by National Sample Surveys may be over-stated; (2) Supply factors explain a relatively small proportion of the decline in women’s work participation rates; (3) Public policies such as improvement in transportation facilities and MGNREGS that enhance work opportunities for women are associated with increased participation by women in the workforce. The following table from the paper also shows how the wording of questions affects measurement of work participation rates.
Omkar Joshi is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at University of Maryland, College Park. He is currently working as a Graduate Research Assistant with India Human Development Survey (IHDS) project. His broad areas of interest are inequality and social mobility, family demography and caste networks and religion in India. Specifically, he is interested in exploring the links between economic inequality, labour market and family structures. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics from University of Mumbai and Master’s degree in Sociology from University of Maryland, College Park.  
IHDS in the News
Noda, Shoko. 2019. “India is a country with pervasive inequality, pockets of deep deprivations and vulnerable populations.” The Indian Express , 10 December. Link .

Recent Publications Using IHDS

Sebastian, Nancy. 2019. “(Re)investigation of Rural Women’s Labour Supply in India: The Impact of Household Poverty Status—A Panel Data Analysis.” Margin: The Journal of Applied Economic Research , 13(4): 436–469, Accessed on December 16, 2019. Link.

Gupta, Asha. 2019. “Towards Participatory Democracy: Can Digitalisation Help Women in India?” Indian Journal of Public Administration , Asha Gupta  Former Director, Directorate of Hindi Medium Implementation, University of Delhi, Delhi, India. , Accessed on December 07, 2019. Link .

Kulkarni, Veena S., Vani S. Kulkarni, and Raghav Gaiha. 2019. “Persistence of Non-Communicable Diseases, Affluence and Inequality in India.” Population Center Working Papers , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania, Accessed on December 07, 2019. Link .

Sedova, Barbora, Matthias Kalkuhl, and Robert Mendelsohn. 2019. “Distributional Impacts of Weather and Climate in Rural India.” Economics of Disasters and Climate Change , , Accessed on December 06, 2019 . Link.

Bhattacharya, Debopam, Anders Kjelsrud, and Rohini, Somanathan. 2019. “Estimating the Welfare Gains from Public Schools in Rural India.” Available at: Accessed on December 05, 2019. Link

Klein, Daniel. 2019. “The Effects of Private and Public Schooling on Learning Outcomes in India.” , Accessed on December 05, 2019. Link

Zeeshan, Md. Riyazuddin Khan, Geetilaxmi Mohapatra, and Arun Kumar Giri. “How Livelihood Diversification and Institutional Credit Help to Improve Household Well-Being in India?” Asian Economic and Financial Review , 9(10): 1200–1210, Accessed on December 02, 2019. Link .

Verma, Arvind, Hanif Qureshi, Michael Frisby, and Alok Mohan. 2019. “How Real Is the Crime Decline in India?”  Economic and Political Weekly , 54(45), Accessed on December 02, 2019.   Link .  
About IHDS
The India Human Development Survey (IHDS) is a nationally representative, multi-topic survey of 41,554 households in 1503 villages and 971 urban neighbourhoods across India. The first round of interviews was completed in 2004-05; data are publicly available through ICPSR. A second round of IHDS re-interviewed most of these households in 2011-12 (N=42,152) and data for the same can be found here.

IHDS has been jointly organised by researchers from the University of Maryland and the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), New Delhi. Funding for the second round of this survey is provided by the National Institutes of Health, grants R01HD041455 and R01HD061048. Additional funding is provided by The Ford Foundation, IDRC and DFID.
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