100% Marry for What: Caste and Mate Selection in Modern India
Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Maitreesh Ghatak, Jeanne Lafortune
This paper studies the role played by caste, education and other social and economic attributes in arranged marriages among middle-class Indians. We use a unique data set on individuals who placed matrimonial advertisements in a major newspaper, the responses they received, how they ranked them, and the eventual matches. We estimate the preferences for caste, education, beauty, and other attributes. We then compute a set of stable matches, which we compare to the actual matches that we observe in the data. We find the stable matches to be quite similar to the actual matches, suggesting a relatively frictionless marriage market. One of our key empirical findings is that there is a very strong preference for within-caste marriage. However, because both sides of the market share this preference and because the groups are fairly homogeneous in terms of the distribution of other attributes, in equilibrium, the cost of wanting to marry within-caste is low. This allows caste to remain a persistent feature of the Indian marriage market.
...CASTE AND MATE SELECTION IN MODERN INDIA
Working Paper 14958
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
National Bureau of Economic Research.
99% The Efficacy of Parochial Politics: Caste, Commitment, and Competence in Indian Local Governments
Kaivan Munshi, Mark Rosenzweig
Parochial politics is typically associated with poor leadership and low levels of public good provision. This paper explores the possibility that community involvement in politics need not necessarily worsen governance and, indeed, can be efficiency-enhancing when the context is appropriate. Complementing the new literature on the role of community networks in solving market problems, we test the hypothesis that strong traditional social institutions can discipline the leaders they put forward, successfully substituting for secular political institutions when they are ineffective. Using new data on Indian local governments at the ward level over multiple terms, and exploiting the randomized election reservation system, we find that the presence of a numerically dominant sub-caste (caste equilibrium) is associated with the selection of leaders with superior observed characteristics and with greater public good provision. This improvement in leadership competence occurs without apparently diminishing leaders' responsiveness to their constituency.
CASTE, COMMITMENT, AND COMPETENCE IN
INDIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
WORKING PAPER 14335
NBER WORKING PAPER SERIES
THE EFFICACY OF PAROCHIAL POLITICS:
CASTE, COMMITMENT, AND COMPETENCE IN INDIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
Working Paper 14335
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
...and caste identity dominate political life throughout the world. In India, the
setting for this paper, caste politics appears to have grown stronger over time (Banerjee and Pande
2007) and a similar persistence in ethno-linguistic politics has been documented in countries at
various stages of economic development (Horowitz 1985, Posner 2005). The standard explanation for
the emergence and the...
99% Affirmative Action in Education: Evidence From Engineering College Admissions in India
Marianne Bertrand, Rema Hanna, Sendhil Mullainathan
Many countries mandate affirmative action in university admissions for traditionally disadvantaged groups. Little is known about either the efficacy or costs of these programs. This paper examines affirmative action in engineering colleges in India for "lower-caste" groups. We find that it successfully targets the financially disadvantaged: the marginal upper-caste applicant comes from a more advantaged background than the marginal lower-caste applicant who displaces him. Despite much lower entrance exam scores, the marginal lower-caste entrant does benefit: we find a strong, positive economic return to admission. These findings contradict common arguments against affirmative action: that it is only relevant for richer lower-caste members, or that those who are admitted are too unprepared to benefit from the education. However, these benefits come at a cost. Our point estimates suggest that the marginal upper-caste entrant enjoys nearly twice the earnings level gain as the marginal lower-caste entrant. This finding illustrates the program's redistributive nature: it benefits the poor, but costs resources in absolute terms. One reason for this lower level gain is that a smaller fraction of lower-caste admits end up employed in engineering or advanced technical jobs. Finally, we find no evidence that the marginal upper-caste applicant who is rejected due to the policy ends up with more negative attitudes towards lower castes or towards affirmative action programs. On the other hand, there is some weak evidence that the marginal lower-caste admits become stronger supporters of affirmative action programs.
...Caste Western Reserve University, NYU and University of Houston/Rice for helpful comments. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
© 2008 by Marianne Bertrand, Rema Hanna, and Sendhil Mullainathan. All rights reserved. Short sections of text, not to exceed two paragraphs, may be quoted without...
99% Measuring Discrimination in Education
Rema Hanna, Leigh Linden
In this paper, we illustrate a methodology to measure discrimination in educational contexts. In India, we ran an exam competition through which children compete for a large financial prize. We recruited teachers to grade the exams. We then randomly assigned child "characteristics" (age, gender, and caste) to the cover sheets of the exams to ensure that there is no systematic relationship between the characteristics observed by the teachers and the quality of the exams. We find that teachers give exams that are assigned to be lower caste scores that are about 0.03 to 0.09 standard deviations lower than exams that are assigned to be high caste. The effect is small relative to the real differences in scores between the high and lower caste children. Low-performing, low caste children and top-performing females tend to lose out the most due to discrimination. Interestingly, we find that the discrimination against low caste students is driven by low caste teachers, while teachers who belong to higher caste groups do not appear to discriminate at all. This result runs counter to the previous literature, which tends to find that individuals discriminate in favor of members of their own groups.
...caste. The effect is small relative to the real differences in scores between the high and lower caste children. Low-performing, low caste children and top-performing females tend to lose out the most due to discrimination. Interestingly, we find that the discrimination against low caste students is driven by low caste teachers, while teachers who belong to higher caste groups do not appear to...
99% Insiders and Outsiders: Local Ethnic Politics and Public Goods Provision
Kaivan Munshi, Mark Rosenzweig
We examine the role of ethnic politics at the local level in supplying public goods within a framework that incorporates two sides to ethnic groups: an inclusionary side associated with internal cooperation and an exclusionary side associated with the disregard for others. The inclusionary aspect of ethnic politics results in the selection of more able political representatives who exert more effort, resulting in an increased supply of non-excludable public goods. The exclusionary aspect of ethnic politics results in the capture of targetable public resources by insiders; i.e. the representative's own group, at the expense of outsiders. Using newly available Indian data, covering all the major states over three election terms at the most local (ward) level, we provide empirical evidence that is consistent with both sides of ethnic politics. Counterfactual simulations using structural estimates of the model are used to quantify the impact of alternative policies that, based on our theory and the empirical results, are expected to increase the supply of public goods.
determines the selection of political leaders and the level and distribution of public resources
throughout the developing world. One negative consequence of ethnic politics for economic
development is that citizens tend to vote mechanically on ethnic lines when information
about candidates is limited, resulting in the selection of incompetent or corrupt leaders
(Banerjee and Pande...
99% Caste, Culture, and the Status and Well-Being of Widows in India
Robert T. Jensen
in Analyses in the Economics of Aging, David A. Wise, editor
...Caste, Culture, and the Status and Well-Being of Widows
Author: Robert T. Jensen
Caste, Culture, and the Status and
Well-Being of Widows in India
Issues in aging are becoming of increasing importance in India. While
this may seem paradoxical because of the low life expectancy (about sixtyfour years for women...
99% Caste, Kinship and Sex Ratios in India
Tanika Chakraborty, Sukkoo Kim
This paper explores the relationship between kinship institutions and sex ratios in India at the turn of the twentieth century. Since kinship rules varied by caste, language, religion and region, we construct sex-ratios by these categories at the district-level using data from the 1901 Census of India for Punjab (North), Bengal (East) and Madras (South). We find that the female to male sex ratio varied inversely by caste-rank, rose as one moved from the North to the East and then to the South, was lower for Hindus than Muslims, and was lower for the northern Indo-Aryan rather than the southern Dravidian speaking peoples. We also find that the female deficit was greater in wheat growing regions and in areas with higher rainfall and alluvial soil. We argue that these systematic patterns in the data are largely explained by variations in the institution of family, kinship and inheritance.
...caste and kinship systems.
5 Blunt (1931, p.48): Caste endogamy is absolutely rigid and immutable, permitting no open evasion. Sometimes even high castes are compelled by a lack of women to make a practice of taking low castes as wives: but in such cases both the husband and his caste connive at their own deception, and if they are willing to ignore custom, are very unwilling to be generally...
99% Social Proximity and Bureaucrat Performance: Evidence from India
Guo Xu, Marianne Bertrand, Robin Burgess
Using exogenous variation in social proximity generated by an allocation rule, we find that bureaucrats assigned to their home states are perceived to be more corrupt and less able to withstand illegitimate political pressure. Despite this, we observe that home officers are more likely to be promoted in the later stages of their careers. To understand this dissonance between performance and promotion we show that incoming Chief Ministers preferentially promote home officers that come from the same home district. Taken together, our results suggest that social proximity hampers bureaucrat performance by facilitating political capture and corruption.
...caste × home state bracket when being ranked in the allocation process.
This implies that officers who are the only candidate in their bracket in a given year of
intake are allocated to their home state with near certainty. Variation in the bracket size,
however, depends on whether officers from the same caste and state passed the competitive
entry exam in the same year. We argue and provide...
98% Social Investments, Informal Risk Sharing, and Inequality
Attila Ambrus, Arun G. Chandrasekhar, Matt Elliott
This paper studies costly network formation in the context of risk sharing. Neighboring agents negotiate agreements as in Stole and Zwiebel (1996), which results in the social surplus being allocated according to the Myerson value. We uncover two types of inefficiency: overinvestment in social relationships within group (e.g., caste, ethnicity), but underinvestment across group. We find a novel tradeoff between efficiency and equality. Both within and across groups, inefficiencies are minimized by increasing social inequality, which results in financial inequality and increasing the centrality of the most central agents. Evidence from 75 Indian village networks is congruent with our model.
...caste, ethnicity), but underinvestment across group. We find a novel tradeoff between
efficiency and equality. Both within and across groups, inefficiencies are minimized by increasing
social inequality, which results in financial inequality and increasing the centrality of the most central
agents. Evidence from 75 Indian village networks is congruent with our model.
98% Why is Mobility in India so Low? Social Insurance, Inequality, and Growth
Kaivan Munshi, Mark Rosenzweig
This paper examines the hypothesis that the persistence of low spatial and marital mobility in rural India, despite increased growth rates and rising inequality in recent years, is due to the existence of sub-caste networks that provide mutual insurance to their members. Unique panel data providing information on income, assets, gifts, loans, consumption, marriage, and migration are used to link caste networks to household and aggregate mobility. Our key finding, consistent with the hypothesis that local risk-sharing networks restrict mobility, is that among households with the same (permanent) income, those in higher-income caste networks are more likely to participate in caste-based insurance arrangements and are less likely to both out-marry and out-migrate. At the aggregate level, the networks appear to have coped successfully with the rising inequality within sub-castes that accompanied the Green Revolution. The results suggest that caste networks will continue to smooth consumption in rural India for the foreseeable future, as they have for centuries, unless alternative consumption-smoothing mechanisms of comparable quality become available.
...-income caste networks are more likely to participate in caste-based insurance arrangements and are less likely to both out-marry and out-migrate. At the aggregate level, the networks appear to have coped successfully with the rising inequality within sub-castes that accompanied the Green Revolution. The results suggest that caste networks will continue to smooth consumption in rural India for the...
98% Preference for Boys, Family Size and Educational Attainment in India
Adriana D. Kugler, Santosh Kumar
Using data from nationally representative household surveys, we test whether Indian parents make trade-offs between the number of children and investments in education and health of their children. To address the endogeneity due to the joint determination of quantity and quality of children by parents, we instrument family size with the gender of the first child which is plausibly random. Given a strong son-preference in India, parents tend to have more children if the first born is a girl. Our IV results show that children from larger families have lower educational attainment and are less likely to have ever been enrolled and to be currently enrolled in school, even after controlling for parents’ characteristics and birth-order of children. The effects are larger for rural, poorer and low-caste families and for families with less educated mothers. However, we find no evidence of a trade-off for health outcomes.
...low-caste families and for families
with less educated mothers. However, we find no evidence of a trade-off for health outcomes.
Adriana D. Kugler
McCourt School of Public Policy
37th and O Streets NW, Suite 311
Washington, DC 20057
Department of Economics & International Business
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341...
98% Signaling, Shame, and Silence in Social Learning
Arun G. Chandrasekhar, Benjamin Golub, He Yang
We examine how a social stigma of seeking information can inhibit learning. Consider a Seeker of uncertain ability who can learn about a task from an Advisor. If higher-ability Seekers need information less, then a Seeker concerned about reputation may refrain from asking to avoid signaling low ability. Separately, low-ability individuals may feel inhibited even if their ability is known and there is nothing to signal, an effect we term shame. Signaling and shame constitute an overall stigma of seeking information. We distinguish between the constituent parts of stigma in a simple model and then perform an experiment with treatments designed to detect both effects. Seekers have three days to retrieve information from paired Advisors in a field setting. The first arm varies whether needing information is correlated with ability; the second varies whether a Seeker's ability is revealed to the paired Advisor, irrespective of the seeking decision. We find that low-ability individuals do face large stigma inhibitions: there is a 55% decline in the probability of seeking when the need for information is correlated with cognitive ability. The second arm allows us to assess the contributions of signaling and shame, and, under structural assumptions, to estimate their relative magnitudes. We find signaling to be the dominant force overall. The shame effect is particularly pronounced among socially close pairs (in terms of network distance and caste co-membership) whereas signaling concerns dominate for more distant pairs.
...caste co-membership) whereas signaling concerns dominate for more
Arun G. Chandrasekhar
Department of Economics
579 Serra Mall Stanford,
Littauer Center, 308
1805 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
1805 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02138
98% Social Frictions to Knowledge Diffusion: Evidence from an Information Intervention
Arthur Alik-Lagrange, Martin Ravallion
Does knowledge about antipoverty programs spread quickly within poor communities or are there significant frictions, such as due to social exclusion? We combine longitudinal and intra-household observations in estimating the direct knowledge gain from watching an information movie in rural India, while randomized village assignment identifies knowledge sharing with those in treatment villages who did not watch the movie. Knowledge is found to be shared within villages, but less so among illiterate and lower caste individuals, especially when also poor; these groups relied more on actually seeing the movie. Sizable biases are evident in impact estimators that ignore knowledge spillovers.
...and lower caste individuals, especially when also poor; these groups relied more on actually
seeing the movie. Sizable biases are evident in impact estimators that ignore knowledge spillovers.
Toulouse School of Economics
Center for Economic Research
Washington, DC 20057
97% Social Structure and Institutional Design: Evidence from a Lab Experiment in the Field
Emily Breza, Arun G. Chandrasekhar, Horacio Larreguy
In settings with poor formal contract enforcement, profitable investments are likely unrealized. While social closeness can mitigate contractual incompleteness, we examine how to improve the preponderance of cases where contracting parties cannot rely upon social ties. We ask if a community can enlist members to monitor transactions or punish offending parties.
We conduct a laboratory experiment in 40 Indian villages, with 960 non-anonymized subjects, where we have social network data. Participants play modified sender-receiver investment games, with and without third-party monitors and punishers. We examine whether network centrality of the third party increases efficiency of interaction. Furthermore, we decompose the efficiency increase into a monitoring channel (central third parties are valuable since they may influence reputations) and an enforcement channel (central third parties may be more able to punish without fear of retaliation).
Assigning a third party at the 75th percentile of the centrality distribution (as compared to the 25th) increases efficiency by 21% relative to the mean: we attribute 2/5 of the effect to monitoring and 3/5 to enforcement. The largest efficiency increase occurs when senders and receivers are socially distant, unable to maintain efficient levels autonomously. Results cannot be explained by demographics such as elite status, caste, wealth or gender.
Our findings show not every member is equally well-equipped to be part of a local institution. Knowing that a central third party observes their interaction increases sender-receiver efficiency. More importantly, to be able to punish someone, the third party must be important in the community.
...caste, wealth or gender.
Our findings show not every member is equally well-equipped to be part of a local institution. Knowing
that a central third party observes their interaction increases sender-receiver efficiency. More importantly,
to be able to punish someone, the third party must be important in the community.
Columbia Business School
Division of Finance and Economics
97% Friendship at Work: Can Peer Effects Catalyze Female Entrepreneurship?
Erica Field, Seema Jayachandran, Rohini Pande, Natalia Rigol
Does the lack of peers contribute to the observed gender gap in entrepreneurial success, and is the constraint stronger for women facing more restrictive social norms? We offered two days of business counseling to a random sample of customers of India’s largest women’s bank. A random subsample was invited to attend with a friend. The intervention had a significant immediate impact on participants’ business activity, but only if they were trained in the presence of a friend. Four months later, those trained with a friend were more likely to have taken out business loans, were less likely to be housewives, and reported increased business activity and higher household income. The positive impacts of training with a friend were stronger among women from religious or caste groups with social norms that restrict female mobility.
...or caste groups with social norms that restrict
Department of Economics
Social Sciences Building
Durham, NC 27708
Department of Economics
2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
Kennedy School of Government
97% Trade Adjustment and Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Indian Tariff Reform
Eric V. Edmonds, Nina Pavcnik, Petia Topalova
Do the short and medium term adjustment costs associated with trade liberalization influence schooling and child labor decisions? We examine this question in the context of India's 1991 tariff reforms. Overall, in the 1990s, rural India experienced a dramatic increase in schooling and decline in child labor. However, communities that relied heavily on employment in protected industries before liberalization do not experience as large an increase in schooling or decline in child labor. The data suggest that this failure to follow the national trend of increasing schooling and diminishing work is associated with a failure to follow the national trend in poverty reduction. Schooling costs appear to play a large role in this relationship between poverty, schooling, and child labor. Extrapolating from our results, our estimates imply that roughly half of India's rise in schooling and a third of the fall in child labor during the 1990s can be explained by falling poverty and therefore improved capacity to afford schooling.
...caste/tribe, the percentage of literate population in a district, and state-labor laws indicators. Regressions in columns 3 and 4 replace all district-level variables with their equivalents at the region level. Post reform indicator in column 4 refers to 1987 NSS round. Differences in sample size across columns are due to missing data (column 3 and 5) or different samples (column 4).
96% Moving to Opportunity or Isolation? Network Effects of a Randomized Housing Lottery in Urban India
Sharon Barnhardt, Erica Field, Rohini Pande
A housing lottery in an Indian city provided winning slum dwellers the opportunity to move into improved housing on the city’s periphery. Fourteen years later, relative to lottery losers, winners report improved housing farther from the city center, but no change in family income or human capital. Winners also report increased isolation from family and caste networks and lower access to informal insurance. We observe significant program exit: 34% of winners never moved into the subsidized housing and 32% eventually exited. Our results point to the importance of considering social networks when designing housing programs for the poor.
...and caste networks and lower access to informal insurance.
We observe significant program exit: 34% of winners never moved into the subsidized housing and
32% eventually exited. Our results point to the importance of considering social networks when designing
housing programs for the poor.
Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad
96% Networks, Commitment, and Competence: Caste in Indian Local Politics
Kaivan Munshi, Mark Rosenzweig
This paper widens the scope of the emerging literature on economic networks by assessing the role of caste networks in Indian local politics. We test the hypothesis that these networks can discipline their members to overcome political commitment problems, enabling communities to select their most competent representatives, while at the same time ensuring that they honor the public goods preferences of their constituents. Using detailed data on local public goods at the street level and the characteristics of constituents and their elected representatives at the ward level over multiple terms, and exploiting the random system of reserving local council seats for caste groups, we find that caste discipline results in the election of representatives with superior observed characteristics and the provision of a significantly greater level of public goods. This improvement in political competence occurs without apparently diminishing leaders' responsiveness to the preferences of their constituents, although the constituency is narrowly defined by the sub-caste rather than the electorate as a whole.
...find that caste discipline results in the election of representatives with superior observed characteristics and the provision of a significantly greater level of public goods. This improvement in political competence occurs without apparently diminishing leaders' responsiveness to the preferences of their constituents, although the constituency is narrowly defined by the sub-caste rather than the...
96% Tractable and Consistent Random Graph Models
Arun G. Chandrasekhar, Matthew O. Jackson
We define a general class of network formation models, Statistical Exponential Random Graph Models (SERGMs), that nest standard exponential random graph models (ERGMs) as a special case. We provide the first general results on when these models' (including ERGMs) parameters estimated from the observation of a single network are consistent (i.e., become accurate as the number of nodes grows). Next, addressing the problem that standard techniques of estimating ERGMs have been shown to have exponentially slow mixing times for many specifications, we show that by reformulating network formation as a distribution over the space of sufficient statistics instead of the space of networks, the size of the space of estimation can be greatly reduced, making estimation practical and easy. We also develop a related, but distinct, class of models that we call subgraph generation models (SUGMs) that are useful for modeling sparse networks and whose parameter estimates are also directly and easily estimable, consistent, and asymptotically normally distributed. Finally, we show how choice-based (strategic) network formation models can be written as SERGMs and SUGMs, and apply our models and techniques to network data from rural Indian villages.
more frequently when there are no friends in common than when there are.
We find that cross caste relationships occur with significantly higher frequency
when in isolation than when embedded in triads.
The only work to date on consistency in ERGMs is by Shalizi and Rinaldo (2012).
They examine sequences of models (here, random networks indexed by the number of
nodes n) that...