Explaining the Superior Education Outcomes of Kerala: The Role of State Activism in Sustaining Higher Literacy

35 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2016

See all articles by Udayan Rathore

Udayan Rathore

Oxford Policy Management India Private Ltd.

Upasak Das

Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR)

Silvia Masiero

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of International Development

Date Written: January 15, 2016

Abstract

Over time, the state of Kerala has systematically outperformed the rest of India in terms of literacy outcomes. In this paper, two explanations are considered: one, centred on historical inertia, attributes Kerala’s educational outcomes to investments made in pre-independence times. Differently, another theory ascribes Kerala’s performance predominantly to state activism and social reforms. Through analysis of historical data from the Census of India, coupled with a qualitative examination of the Kerala development model, we find support for the thesis of state activism, and examine its relevance for the current debate on the role of the state in India’s development policy.

Keywords: Kerala, education, development policy, human development, historical inertia, state activism

JEL Classification: H52, R58, N95, O20, I21

Suggested Citation

Rathore, Udayan and Das, Upasak and Masiero, Silvia, Explaining the Superior Education Outcomes of Kerala: The Role of State Activism in Sustaining Higher Literacy (January 15, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2741230 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2741230

Udayan Rathore (Contact Author)

Oxford Policy Management India Private Ltd. ( email )

St. Aldates Courtyard
Oxford OX1 1BN
United Kingdom

Upasak Das

Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) ( email )

Gen A.K. Vaidya Marg Santoshnagar
Goregaon (East)
Mumbai, Maharashtra 400065
India

Silvia Masiero

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of International Development ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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