Can't Buy Me Love: A Field Experiment Exploring the Trade-off Between Income and Caste-Status in an Indian Matrimonial Market

45 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2008 Last revised: 28 Apr 2010

See all articles by Subhasish Dugar

Subhasish Dugar

University of Calgary

Haimanti Bhattacharya

University of Utah

David Reiley

Pandora Media, Inc.; UC Berkeley School of Information

Date Written: April 27, 2010

Abstract

A large body of literature depicts that status/identity-based discrimination is pervasive, but is silent on how economic incentive interacts with such discriminatory behavior. Our study addresses this by designing a field experiment in a reputable arranged-marriage market that is prone to strong caste-status based discrimination. We place newspaper advertisements of lower-caste potential grooms by systematically varying their caste and monthly income and analyze the corresponding response of higher-caste females. The substantive finding is that despite the persuasive evidence of discrimination, discriminatory behavior of higher-status females decreases with an increase in the advertised monthly income of lower-status males.

Keywords: Identity, Status, Discrimination, Marriage Market, Field Experiment

JEL Classification: E2, J15, J12, C93

Suggested Citation

Dugar, Subhasish and Bhattacharya, Haimanti and Reiley, David H., Can't Buy Me Love: A Field Experiment Exploring the Trade-off Between Income and Caste-Status in an Indian Matrimonial Market (April 27, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1288987 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1288987

Subhasish Dugar (Contact Author)

University of Calgary ( email )

2500 University Drive, NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
Canada

Haimanti Bhattacharya

University of Utah ( email )

Department of Economics
1645 E Campus Center Drive, #308
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.utah.edu/~bhattacharya

David H. Reiley

Pandora Media, Inc. ( email )

2101 WEBSTER ST 16TH FLOOR
Oakland, CA 94612
United States

UC Berkeley School of Information ( email )

102 South Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-4600
United States

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