Religious Identity and the Provision of Public Goods: Evidence from the Indian Princely States

Posted: 11 Oct 2013 Last revised: 25 May 2016

See all articles by Latika Chaudhary

Latika Chaudhary

Naval Postgraduate School

Jared Rubin

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics

Date Written: February 2016

Abstract

Identifying the effect of a ruler’s religious identity on policy is challenging because religious identity rarely varies over time and place. We address this problem by exploiting quasi-random variation in the religion of rulers in the Indian Princely States. Using data from the 1911 census, we find that Muslim-ruled states had lower Hindu literacy but the religion of the ruler had no statistically significant impact on Muslim literacy, railroad ownership, or post office provision. These results support the hypothesis that rulers provide less public goods when religious institutions provide a substitute targeted at their co-religionists.

Keywords: identity, public goods, religion, Islam, Hinduism, literacy, India, Princely States, railroads, post offices

JEL Classification: H41, H42, N35, N45, N75, I25, Z12

Suggested Citation

Chaudhary, Latika and Rubin, Jared, Religious Identity and the Provision of Public Goods: Evidence from the Indian Princely States (February 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2338656 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2338656

Latika Chaudhary

Naval Postgraduate School ( email )

1 University Circle
Monterey, CA 93043
United States

Jared Rubin (Contact Author)

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.jaredcrubin.com

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