Does Identity Affect Labor Supply?

82 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2022

See all articles by Suanna Oh

Suanna Oh

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Date Written: 2021


Does identity influence economic behavior in the labor market? I investigate this question in rural India, focusing on the effect of caste identity on job-specific labor supply. In a field experiment, laborers choose whether to take up various job offers, which differ in associations with specific castes. Workers are less willing to accept offers that are linked to castes other than their own, especially when those castes rank lower in the social hierarchy. Workers forego large payments to avoid job offers that conflict with their caste identity, regardless of whether these decisions are made in private.

Keywords: identity, labor supply, caste, occupational choice

JEL Classification: D910, J240, O100

Suggested Citation

Oh, Suanna, Does Identity Affect Labor Supply? (2021). CESifo Working Paper No. 9487, Available at SSRN: or

Suanna Oh (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014

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