The India Human Development Survey team, led by University of Maryland sociologists Sonalde Desai and Reeve Vanneman, are extending their seminal work in India with a second wave of surveys beginning in 2011 under two new grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) totaling $5.7 million. The research will build on a nationally representative survey of 41,554 Indian households which the team conducted in 2004-05 (IHDS-I) – also funded by NICHD and the first such study in India.
"The survey is designed to be a premier public resource for researchers interested in studying dimensions of human development in India," said Sonalde Desai, the project’s principal investigator.
The resurvey, labeled IHDS-II, will provide a multi-topic, multi-purpose source of data for international and Indian research on health, education, income, employment, gender, and social inequality – within the context of far-reaching changes there since 2005. Panel data will allow better estimation of the influence of development on families and households than is presently possible.
The second survey will also permit an analysis of two major government programs initiated since 2005 – the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). NREGA was designed to guarantee work for the underemployed, but it has also introduced changes in the male / female wage gap. The health reforms under NRHM provide cash incentives for hospital deliveries, which may serve to reduce infant mortality. Panel analyses of these changes will create new opportunities to investigate the causes of gender inequalities in employment, education, and health.
In addition to following the original survey households, data collection will be expanded in two principal ways : (1) New modules will be added to study regional disparities in health and education; (2) The 8-11 year olds who were the focus of study in 2005 will be followed up in 2011 as they begin to make their transitions to adulthood, thus permitting an examination of young adulthood in India.
This new study is expected to offer critical insight into changes in the nature of young adulthood and consequences of rapid economic and social change for children and young adults.
Research conducted under the parent grant highlighted the importance of regional disparities in health, education, income, and employment. Often, these large regional differences far outstripped individual level differences due to caste, class, and social origins. In this second wave the team will measure a broader range of mechanisms through which these spatial disparities emerge. The new survey will supplement the household interviews with expanded geographic data and institutional surveys.
Like the original IHDS-I, results from the second wave will be publicly available for analysis by scholars from around the world. IHDS-I is already one of the most widely analyzed international survey data sources; IHDS-II promises to be even more significant.