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Constructing Social Division to Support Cooperation: Theory and Evidence from Nepal

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  • Choy, James

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Abstract

Many societies are divided into multiple smaller groups. The defining feature of these groups is that certain kinds of interaction are more likely to take place within a group than across groups. I build a model in which group divisions are enforced through a reputational penalty for interacting with members of different groups. Agents who interact with members of different groups find that they can support lower levels of cooperation in the future. The model explains why agents may be punished by the other members of their group for interacting with members of different groups and why agents are punished for interacting with members of some groups but not others. I test the empirical implication that there should be less cooperation among members of groups that make up a larger percentage of their communities. I discuss the origin and possible future of social division. JEL classification: Cooperation ; Caste ; Social Institution JEL codes: C7 ; O12 ; O17

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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 1011.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1011

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  1. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Beyond the Melting Pot : Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," DELTA Working Papers 1999-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  2. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
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  5. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2006. "Traditional Institutions Meet the Modern World: Caste, Gender, and Schooling Choice in a Globalizing Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1225-1252, September.
  6. Akerlof, George A, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617, November.
  7. Glen Ellison, 2010. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching," Levine's Working Paper Archive 631, David K. Levine.
  8. Avinash Dixit, 2003. "Trade Expansion and Contract Enforcement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1293-1317, December.
  9. Udry, Christopher, 1990. "Credit Markets in Northern Nigeria: Credit as Insurance in a Rural Economy," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 251-69, September.
  10. Quy-Toan Do & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "Geography, poverty and conflict in Nepal," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(6), pages 735-748, November.
  11. Maurizio Mazzocco & Shiv Saini, 2012. "Testing Efficient Risk Sharing with Heterogeneous Risk Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 428-68, February.
  12. Grimard, Franque, 1997. "Household consumption smoothing through ethnic ties: evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 391-422, August.
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