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Celebrations as Social Investments: Festival Expenditures, Unit Price Variation and Social Status in Rural India

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Author Info

  • V. Rao

Abstract

Festival expenditures amount to over 15 per cent of a household's annual expenditures in rural India. Yet they have never been studied by economists. This article uses both qualitative and quantitative data from a case study of three South Indian villages to show that festivals are important public goods in the village, but neither a pure entertainment motive nor an altruistic desire to contribute to a public event seems to explain their size. Households which spend money on festivals, everything else held equal, are able, however, to generate tangible rewards - lower prices on food, higher social status and more invitations to meals from other families. This indicates that active participation in festivals generates private economic and social returns which help resolve a potential free-rider problem. The evidence is consistent with the notion that festivals serve as mechanisms by which communities build social networks.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Development Studies.

Volume (Year): 38 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 71-97

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:38:y:2001:i:1:p:71-97

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Related research

Keywords: festival expenditures; active participation; economic and social rewards; building social networks;

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Cited by:
  1. Vincenzo Lombardo, 2012. "Social inclusion and the emergence of development traps," Discussion Papers 13_2012, CRISEI, University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
  2. van de Walle, Dominique & Ravallion, Martin & Mendiratta, Vibhuti & Koolwal, Gayatri, 2013. "Long-term impacts of household electrification in rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6527, The World Bank.
  3. Tania Begazo-Gomez & Alan Fuchs & Ari Perdana, 2006. "Better Together – or not? Community Participation, Consumption Smoothing and Household Head Employment in Indonesia," Development Economics Working Papers 21814, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  4. Vincenzo Lombardo, 2012. "Social inclusion and the emergence of development traps," Discussion Papers 1_2012, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
  5. Anthon, Signe & Lund, Jens Friis & Helles, Finn, 2008. "Targeting the poor: Taxation of marketed forest products in developing countries," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 197-224, June.
  6. Moav, Omer & Neeman, Zvika, 2008. "Conspicuous Consumption, Human Capital and Poverty," CEPR Discussion Papers 6864, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Omer Moav and & Zvika Neeman, 2012. "Saving Rates and Poverty: The Role of Conspicuous Consumption and Human Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 933-956, 09.
  8. Irene Kamenidou & Spyridon Mamalis & George Kokkinis & Christina Intze, 2011. "Improvement Axons for Ardas Cultural Festival in Evros, Greece, based on attendees perceptions," Scientific Bulletin - Economic Sciences, University of Pitesti, vol. 10(2), pages 62-73.

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