| Economic & Political Weekly
February 9, 2013
Caste and Entrepreneurship in India
It is now widely accepted that the lower castes have risen in Indian politics. Has there been a corresponding change in the economy? Using comprehensive data on enterprise ownership from the Economic Censuses of 1990, 1998, and 2005, we document substantial caste differences in entrepreneurship across India. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are significantly under-represented in the ownership of enterprises and the share of the workforce employed by them. These differences are widespread across all states, have decreased very modestly between 1990 and 2005, and cannot be attributed to broad differences in access to physical or human capital.