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Stereotypes and madrassas: experimental evidence from Pakistan

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  • Adeline Delavande
  • Basit Zafar

Abstract

Madrassas (Islamic religious seminaries) have been alleged to be responsible for fostering Islamic extremism and violence, and for indoctrinating their students in narrow worldviews. However, we know very little about the behavior of Madrassa students, and how other groups in their communities interact with them. To investigate this, we use unique experimental and survey data that we collected in Madrassas and other educational institutions in Pakistan. We randomly match male students from institutions of three distinct religious tendencies and socioeconomic background—Madrassas, Islamic Universities, and Liberal Universities—and observe their actions in several experiments of economic decision-making. First, we find a high level of trust among all groups, with students enrolled at Madrassas being the most trusting and exhibiting the highest level of unconditional other-regarding behavior. Second, within each group, we fail to find evidence of in-group bias or systematic out-group bias either in trust or tastes. These findings cast doubt on the general perception that Madrassas teach hatred and narrow worldviews. Third, we find that students of Liberal Universities underestimate the trustworthiness of Madrassa students, suggesting that an important segment of the society has mistaken stereotypes about students in religious seminaries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 501.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:501

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Keywords: Stereotype (Psychology) ; Universities and colleges ; Education - Economic aspects ; Trust;

References

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Cited by:
  1. Theresa Thompson Chaudhry & Misha Saleem, 2011. "Norms of Cooperation, Trust, Altruism, and Fairness: Evidence from Lab Experiments on Pakistani Students," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 16(Special E), pages 347-375, September.
  2. Favara, Marta, 2012. "The Cost of Acting "Girly": Gender Stereotypes and Educational Choices," IZA Discussion Papers 7037, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Adeline Delavande & Basit Zafar, 2013. "Gender discrimination and social identity: experimental evidence from urban Pakistan," Staff Reports 593, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. Adeline Delavande & Basit Zafar, 2012. "How deeply held are anti-American attitudes among Pakistani youth? Evidence using experimental variation in information," Staff Reports 558, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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