Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=610395
 
 

References (28)



 
 

Citations (14)



 


 



Belief Systems and Durable Inequalities: An Experimental Investigation of Indian Caste


Karla Hoff


World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC); World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Priyank Pandey


affiliation not provided to SSRN

June 25, 2004

World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3351

Abstract:     
If discrimination against an historically oppressed social group is dismantled, will the group forge ahead? Hoff and Pandey present experimental evidence that a history of social and legal disabilities may have persistent effects on a group's earnings through its impact on individuals' expectations. In the first experiment, 321 high-caste and 321 low-caste junior high school male student volunteers in rural India performed the task of solving mazes under economic incentives. There were no caste differences in performance when caste was not publicly revealed, but making caste salient created a large and robust caste gap. When a nonhuman factor influencing rewards (a random draw) was introduced, the caste gap disappeared.

To test whether the low caste's anticipation of prejudicial treatment caused the caste gap, the authors conducted a second experiment that manipulated the scope for discretion in rewarding performance. When the link between performance and payoffs was purely mechanical, making caste salient did not affect behavior. Instead, it was in the case where there was scope for discretion and judgment in rewarding performance that making caste salient had an effect.

The results suggest that when caste identity is salient, low-caste subjects expect that others will judge them prejudicially. Mistrust undermines motivation. The experimental design enables the authors to exclude as explanations of the caste gap in performance socioeconomic differences and a lack of self-confidence by low-caste participants.

This paper - a product of Investment Climate, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to understand social exclusion - why certain social groups in certain localities remain poor and disempowered, while others enjoy greater mobility and power.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

working papers series


Download This Paper

Date posted: October 27, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Hoff, Karla and Pandey, Priyank, Belief Systems and Durable Inequalities: An Experimental Investigation of Indian Caste (June 25, 2004). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3351. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=610395

Contact Information

Karla Hoff (Contact Author)
World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC) ( email )
1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States
HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/khoff
World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)
1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States
Priyank Pandey
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 2,128
Downloads: 380
Download Rank: 43,167
References:  28
Citations:  14

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo1 in 0.422 seconds