This paper examines changes in living conditions in the six villages in
Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, initially surveyed during 1975-84. We
link the original Village Level Survey (VLS) households to a new survey
in the villages conducted during 2001-04 and further extensive survey
work in 2005-06, including tracking survey of all individuals ever
interviewed in the original VLS. Despite issues related to attrition and
changes in the survey instruments, we find that monetary welfare
indicators (such as incomes, assets, consumption and poverty), and non
monetary indicators of well-being (such as basic literacy, education and
health outcomes) have improved considerably. We find the considerable
attrition rates observed can be linked to within-household relational
variables such as gender, relationship to the head and birth order.
Migrants have experienced faster welfare improvements than non-migrants,
but more analysis is needed to confirm whether this is due to their
initial characteristics or due to their migration.
Finally, we explore the correlates of consumption and income growth, and changes in poverty. We find that consumption growth is linked to initial households characteristics, in particular the presence of high literacy in the household, and of young children, especially boys, in the baseline year (1983) is strongly correlated with growth. Other assets, such as land, have a negligible impact, suggesting that labour and human capital have been instrumental for growth. Poverty declined in all villages, but especially in the Mahbubnagar villages in Andhra Pradesh. Labour endowments and literacy appear to have been crucial. Surprisingly, lower caste groups have experienced faster poverty declines, although this effect is largely confined to Mahbubnagar in Andhra Pradesh.
Read the id21 Research Highlight: Lessons from rising living standards in rural India
Changes in Living Standards in Villages in India 1975-2004: Revisiting the ICRISAT village level studies. CPRC Working Paper No. 85, Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, ISBN: 1-904049-84-2, iii + 26 pp.