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The love for sons and appropriate clothing

In the third installment of CASI’s 4-part series in The Hindu, we discuss findings from the latest round of the Lok Surveys on questions related to gender. We find that attitudes on the appropriateness of women’s clothing, which we feel to be a measure of social control, are quite different between rural and urban India. The urban, wealthier, and more educated were the least conservative about what women should wear. However, when we examined the preference that respondents have for sons over daughters, levels of son preference did not vary significantly by the income level, education, or rural/urban status of the respondent, highlighting how deeply rooted this attitude remains in Indian society. Read the article “The love for sons and appropriate clothing” by Megan Reed and Devesh Kapur.

The other two parts in the series:

1) “Being Middle Class in India”

2) “Choosing thy Neighbor”

Also read about the Lok Pre-election Survey

Dressing UP

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India’s new voters: We are connected

EconomistThe Economist has dedicated significant coverage in their April 5th issue (including their cover) to the Indian elections. Check out their briefing on the youth vote in India which features data from the Lok Surveys. They argue that India’s political climate is undergoing dramatic shifts due to changes in the electorate (more young people and female voters), rapid urbanization, and rising incomes. The article also discusses the cult of personality around Narendra Modi and the voter’s prioritization of economic growth. Vaishnav and Swanson’s graph, highlighted in the issue, shows how voters today, more than in the 1990’s, are making their decisions on whether to re-elect incumbents based on the economic growth over their term.

The trend is towards pragmatism, says Rajiv Lall of the Lok Foundation; politicians need to focus more on delivering development. Not everyone welcomes that. A political commentator in his club in Kolkata—West Bengal is India’s strongest bastion for lefties—harrumphs that “the post liberalisation generation, the 22-year-old, thinks there is only one God, that is GDP.” Read more…


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Milan Vaishnav on Charlie Rose

Watch Tuesday’s episode of Charlie Rose on PBS which includes a discussion about the upcoming Indian election with Milan Vaishnav from the Lok Survey project team, Sadanand Dhume, Professor Arvind Panagariya and Jonathan Shainin. The discussion begins at 28:17. You can also watch the video on