The Labor/Land Ratio and India’s Caste System
AbstractThis paper proposes that India’s caste system and involuntary labor were joint responses by a nonworking landowning class to a low labor/land ratio in which the rules of the caste system supported the institution of involuntary labor. The hypothesis is tested in two ways: longitudinally, with data from ancient religious texts, and cross-sectionally, with twentieth-century statistics on regional population/land ratios linked to anthropological measures of caste-system rigidity. Both the longitudinal and cross-sectional evidence suggest that the labor/land ratio affected the caste system’s development, persistence, and rigidity over time and across regions of India.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, College of William and Mary in its series Working Papers with number 137.
Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 17 Mar 2013
Date of revision:
labor-to-land ratio; population; involuntary labor; immobility; value of life; marginal product of labor; market wage;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J47 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Coercive Labor Markets
- J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
- J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
- N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-03-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2013-03-23 (Development)
- NEP-HIS-2013-03-23 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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- Domar, Evsey D., 1970. "The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom: A Hypothesis," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 18-32, March.
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