Explaining the Superior Education Outcomes of Kerala: The Role of State Activism in Sustaining Higher Literacy
35 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2016
Date Written: January 15, 2016
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
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