Understanding the politics of caste, corruption, and wealth is essential for combating poverty in India. However, relatively few studies have systematically analyzed how these factors explain patterns of poverty combining state-level indicators with household and child-level outcomes. Focusing on child poverty as an outcome measure, this paper tests the explanatory potency of John Harriss's typology of state government political regimes, Transparency International India's measures of state corruption, and state-level wealth. Using data on 120,988 children from the third National Family Health Survey (2005–2006) and multilevel models, we find that Harriss's typology of state regimes better explains child poverty differences between states than Transparency International India's corruption index. States whose political regimes are historically dominated by upper-caste groups tend to have an adverse effect on poor children of lower castes, compared to states dominated by lower-caste groups. This adverse effect is amplified in wealthier states.

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