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
Date Written: April 27, 2010
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
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