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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6612.
Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
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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
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