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Caste and Punishment: the Legacy of Caste Culture in Norm Enforcement

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  • Karla Hoff
  • Mayuresh Kshetramade
  • Ernst Fehr

Abstract

Well-functioning groups enforce social norms that restrain opportunism, but the social structure of a society may encourage or inhibit norm enforcement. Here we study how the exogenous assignment to different positions in an extreme social hierarchy – the caste system – affects individuals’ willingness to punish violations of a cooperation norm. Although we control for individual wealth, education, and political participation, low caste individuals exhibit a much lower willingness to punish norm violations that hurt members of their own caste, suggesting a cultural difference across caste status in the concern for members of one’s own community. The lower willingness to punish may inhibit the low caste’s ability to sustain collective action and so may contribute to its economic vulnerability.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 121 (2011)
Issue (Month): 556 (November)
Pages: F449-F475

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:121:y:2011:i:556:p:f449-f475

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  1. Jeffrey P. Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2012. "Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation, Or Reciprocity?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 555-572, 05.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Martin G. Kocher & Todd L. Cherry & Stephan Kroll & Robert J. Netzer & Matthias Sutter, 2007. "Conditional cooperation on three continents," Working Papers 2007-02, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  4. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
  5. Götte, Lorenz & Huffman, David B. & Meier, Stephan, 2006. "The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups," IZA Discussion Papers 2020, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1190-1213, September.
  7. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2009. "Why is Mobility in India so Low? Social Insurance, Inequality, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 14850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Rao, Vijayendra, 2005. "Symbolic public goods and the coordination of collective action : a comparison of local development in India and Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3685, The World Bank.
  9. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
  10. Ernst Fehr & Karla Hoff & Mayuresh Kshetramade, 2008. "Spite and Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 494-99, May.
  11. Basu, Kaushik, 2000. "Prelude to Political Economy: A Study of the Social and Political Foundations of Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296713.
  12. Matthias Cinyabuguma & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2006. "Can second-order punishment deter perverse punishment?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 265-279, September.
  13. Trevon Logan & Manisha Shah, 2009. "Face Value: Information and Signaling in an Illegal Market," NBER Working Papers 14841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd & Samuel Bowles & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Richard McElreath, 2001. "Cooperation, Reciprocity and Punishment in Fifteen Small-scale Societies," Working Papers 01-01-007, Santa Fe Institute.
  15. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Faillo, Marco & Grieco, Daniela & Zarri, Luca, 2012. "Cultural Diversity, Cooperation,and Anti-social Punishment," AICCON Working Papers 102-2012, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
  2. Hammermann, Andrea & Mohnen, Alwine & Nieken, Petra, 2012. "Whom to Choose as a Team Mate? A Lab Experiment about In-Group Favouritism," IZA Discussion Papers 6286, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Hoff, Karla & Pandey, Priyanka, 2014. "Making up people—The effect of identity on performance in a modernizing society," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 118-131.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Karla Hoff, 2011. "Tastes, castes, and culture: The influence of society on preferences," ECON - Working Papers 026, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Algan, Yann & Cahuc, Pierre, 2013. "Trust, Growth and Well-Being: New Evidence and Policy Implications," CEPR Discussion Papers 9548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Hoff, Karla & Pandey, Priyanka, 2012. "Making up people -- the effect of identity on preferences and performance in a modernizing society," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6223, The World Bank.
  7. Koch, Christian, 2013. "The Virtue Ethics Hypothesis: Is there a nexus between virtues and well-being?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80054, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  8. Dean Spears, 2013. "Poverty and probability: aspiration and aversion to compound lotteries in El Salvador and India," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 263-284, September.
  9. Vani K. Borooah & Catherine Bros, 2012. "The Distribution of Social Capital, Confidence in Public Bodies, and Electoral Participation in India," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2012-05-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.

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