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Caste and punishment : the legacy of caste culture in norm enforcement

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  • Hoff, Karla
  • Kshetramade, Mayuresh
  • Fehr, Ernst

Abstract

Well-functioning groups enforce social norms that restrain opportunism, but the social structure of a society may encourage or inhibit norm enforcement. This paper studies 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 the analysis controls 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

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5040.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5040

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Keywords: Gender and Social Development; Corruption&Anitcorruption Law; Anthropology; Access to Finance; Social Inclusion&Institutions;

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  1. 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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  3. 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.
  4. Basu, Kaushik, 2000. "Prelude to Political Economy: A Study of the Social and Political Foundations of Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296713.
  5. Matthias Cinyabuguma & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2006. "Can second-order punishment deter perverse punishment?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 265-279, September.
  6. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Matthews, Peter Hans, 2005. "Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation or Reciprocity?," IZA Discussion Papers 1583, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Lorenz Goette & David Huffman & Stephan Meier, 2006. "The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence Using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 212-216, May.
  8. Fehr, Ernst & Hoff, Karla & Kshetramade, Mayuresh, 2008. "Spite and development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4619, The World Bank.
  9. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Third-party punishment and social norms," Experimental 0409002, EconWPA.
  10. 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.
  11. Kocher, Martin G. & Cherry, Todd & Kroll, Stephan & Netzer, Robert J. & Sutter, Matthias, 2008. "Conditional cooperation on three continents," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 175-178, December.
  12. 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.
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  14. Trevon D. Logan & Manisha Shah, 2013. "Face Value: Information and Signaling in an Illegal Market," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 529-564, January.
  15. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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. Marco Faillo & Daniela Grieco & Luca Zarri, 2012. "Cultural Diversity, Cooperation, and Antisocial Punishment," Working Papers 09/2012, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  6. 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).
  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. 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.
  9. 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.

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