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Traditional Institutions Meet the Modern World: Caste, Gender, and Schooling Choice in a Globalizing Economy

Author

Listed:
  • Kaivan Munshi
  • Mark Rosenzweig

Abstract

This paper addresses the question of how traditional institutions interact with the forces of globalization to shape the economic mobility and welfare of particular groups of individuals in the new economy. We explore the role of one such traditional institution?the caste system?in shaping career choices by gender in Bombay using new survey data on school enrollment and income over the past 20 years. We find that male working-class?lower-caste?networks continue to channel boys into local language schools that lead to the traditional occupation, despite the fact that returns to nontraditional white-collar occupations rose substantially in the 1990s, suggesting the possibility of a dynamic inefficiency. In contrast, lower-caste girls, who historically had low labor market participation rates and so did not benefit from the network, are taking full advantage of the opportunities that became available in the new economy by switching rapidly to English schools. (JEL I21, J16, O15, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:4:p:1225-1252
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.4.1225
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    2. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks in the Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants in the U. S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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