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Inequality in Health Outcomes in India: The Role of Caste and Religion

Biomedical Sciences Research Institute Computer Science Research Institute Environmental Sciences Research Institute Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials Research Institute

Borooah, Vani (2010) Inequality in Health Outcomes in India: The Role of Caste and Religion. In: Blocked by Caste: Economic Discrimination in Modern India. (Eds: Thorat, Sukhdeo and Newman, Katherine), Oxford University Press, pp. 179-207. ISBN 978-0-19-806080-2 [Book section]

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Abstract

The “social gradient to health” - whereby people belonging to groups higher up the social ladder had better health outcomes than those belonging to groups further down - is essentially a Western construct; there has been very little investigation into whether, in developing countries also, people’s state of health is dependent on their social status. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the relative strengths of economic and social status in determining the health status of persons in India. In other words, even after controlling for non-community factors, did the fact that Indians belonged to different social groups, encapsulating different degrees of social status, exercise a significant influence on the state of their health? The existence of a social group effect would suggest that there was a “social gradient” to health outcomes in India. Furthermore, there was the possibility that the “social gradient” existed with respect to some outcomes but not to others. In investigating this, the paper addresses, in the Indian context, an issue which les at the heart of social epidemiology: estimating the relative strengths of individual and social factors in determining health outcomes.

Item Type:Book section
Keywords:Health outcomes, Caste, Religion, India
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences
ID Code:9067
Deposited By:Professor Vani Borooah
Deposited On:25 Jan 2010 15:47
Last Modified:06 May 2014 10:06

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