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Cambridge University Press

The Dravidian Model

The Dravidian Model

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The Dravidian Model adds to the growing literature on the dynamics of subnational development in the Global South by mapping the politics and processes contributing to the development trajectory of Tamil Nadu, south India. The book foregrounds the role of populist mobilisation against caste based inequalities in shaping this development

Subnational variations in economic and social outcomes across India, one of the fastest growing economies, continue to pose conceptual and policy challenges. States that do well on the growth front lag in human development, while human development in a few other states has not been accompanied by sustained growth in productive sectors. Tamil Nadu bucks this trend and has managed to combine relatively high levels of growth and sustained productive capacities with human development. Drawing upon fresh data, literature, policy documents and primary fieldwork, this book seeks to explain the social and economic development of Tamil Nadu in terms of populist mobilisation against caste-based inequalities. Dominant policy narratives on inclusive growth assume a sequential logic whereby returns to growth are used to invest in socially inclusive policies. By focusing more on redistribution of access to opportunities in the modern economy, the state has sustained a relatively more inclusive and dynamic growth process

Democratisation of economic opportunities has made such broad-based growth possible even as interventions in social sectors reinforce the former. The book thus also speaks to the nascent literature on the relationship between the logic of modernisation and status-based inequalities in the Global South. Importantly, it contributes to the growing literature on how regional politics and political regimes shape global development trajectories. 

Kalaiyarasan A. is Fulbright-Nehru post-doctoral fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs in Brown University and Assistant Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai. His academic interest lies in the intersection of caste and economic processes in India

Vijayabaskar M. is Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai. His research centres on the political economy of development with a focus on labour and land markets, industrial dynamics and rural-urban transformations


  1. Per Capita Income (INR) at Base 2004-05
  2. Trends in Incidence of Poverty across Selected States in India
  3. Basic Educational Outcome
  4. Educational Indicators by Caste Groups
  5. Basic Infrastructure in Primary Schools
  6. Number of Residential Hostels for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Fibes, Backward Classes, Most Backward Classes, Denotified Communities and Minority School Children in Tamil Nadu, 2013
  7. Inequalities in Access to Higher Education (Gross Attendance Ratio for Age 1823)  
  8. KeyHealth Indicators for Caste Groups in Tamil Nadu and All-India
  9. Health Infrastructure across States in India
  10. Facilities at Primary Health Centres (PHCs)
  11. Proportion of Social Expenditure to Total Expenditure Aurrerage Per Capita Real Public Expenditure on Health (1993-94 Price) 
  12. Average Medical and Non-medical Expenditure Per Hospitalisation Case in Public and Private Facilities (INR)
  13. Economic Growth (NSDP)
  14. Growth by Sectors in Tamil Nadu
  15. Distribution of Enterprises by Ownership Pattern (Economic Census 2014)
  16. Distribution of Enterprises by Caste Status of Ownership (Per Cent
  17. Road Infrastructure in Tamil Nadu
  18. Distribution of Rural Households by Size Class (Landholdings) for Tamil Nadu
  19. Rural Non-farm Employment
  20. Trends in Wage Disparities (in Per Cent)
  21. Educational Status of Rural Workers (in Per Cent)
  22. Distribution of Rural Households by Size Class (Landholdings) - All-India
  23. Rural Occupational Classification of Households
  24. Average Monthly Income (INR) from Different Sources and Consumption Expenditure (INR) per Agricultural Household for July 2012-June 2013
  25. PDS Subsidies
  26. Coverage of PDS (in Per Cent)
  27. Average Per Capita Quantity Consumed in 30 Days (Kg)Rural
  28. Average Per Capita Quantity Consumed in 30 Days (Kg) for Caste Groups
  29. Structure of Workforce
  30. Size of Labour Force and Workforce by Sectors (in Million)
  31. Types of Workforce (excluding Agriculture)
  32. Organised Enterprises and Formal Workers in Industry and Service Sectors
  33. Trends in Nominal Wages
  34. Trends in Real Wages and Ratio of Casual to Regular Wages
  35. Occupational Classification in Urban Areas
  36. Educational Status of Urban Workers
  37. Skill Status of Urban Workers
  38. Average Per Capita Quantity Consumed in 30 Days (Kg) in Urban Tamil Nadu
  39. Distribution of Verified Membership of Unions in Tamil Nadu
  40. Welfare Boards for Unorganised Workers
  41. Other Welfare Boards under Different Ministries
  42. Welfare Schemes under Unorganised Welfare Boards 


  1. Wealth Inequality by Quintile
  2. Gross Enrolment Ratio in Higher Education for All Groups (1823 Years)
  3. Gross Enrolment Ratio in Higher Education for Scheduled Castes (1823 Years)
  4. Percentage of Workers Who Are Graduates across States in India
  5. Trend in Total Fertility Rate
  6. Trend in Infant Mortality Rate
  7. Subnational Variation in Under-five Mortality Rate
  8. Subnational Variation in Maternal Mortality Ratio
  9. Subnational Variation in Institutional Delivery
  10. Trend in Per Capita Income (in INR at 2004-05)
  11. Share of Agricultural Households in Total Rural Households
  12. Inter-state Differences in Rural Agricultural Wages (2017)
  13. Inter-state Differences in Rural Non-agricultural Wages (2017)
  14. Trend in Wage Share in Gross Value Added in the Factory Sector (Total Emoluments)
  15. Trend in Wage Share in Gross Value Added in the Factory Sector (Per Cent Wage and PF Alone) 




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