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Opportunity is not everything


  • Karla Hoff
  • Priyanka Pandey


We experimentally investigate in village India how belief systems that hierarchize social groups affect the groups' responses to economic opportunities. Earlier we found that making caste salient hurt low caste performance both absolutely and relative to the high caste's. To examine the possible role of mistrust, we manipulate the scope for discretion in rewarding performance. When offered a gamble in which success mechanically triggers rewards, making caste salient has no significant effect. Instead, it is in the case with scope for discretion that making caste salient creates a large caste gap in the proportion of subjects who refuse the gamble. Copyright (c) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 2005.

Suggested Citation

  • Karla Hoff & Priyanka Pandey, 2005. "Opportunity is not everything," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 13(3), pages 445-472, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:etrans:v:13:y:2005:i:3:p:445-472

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:03:p:663-672_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
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    7. La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Inequality and group participation: theory and evidence from rural Tanzania," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 235-273, August.
    8. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer & Rohini Somanathan, 2005. "History, Social Divisions, and Public Goods in Rural India," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 639-647, 04/05.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joana Naritomi & Rodrigo R. Soares & Juliano J. Assunção, 2007. "Rent Seeking and the Unveiling of 'De Facto' Institutions: Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil," NBER Working Papers 13545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Naritomi, Joana & Soares, Rodrigo R. & Assunção, Juliano J., 2012. "Institutional Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(02), pages 393-422, June.
    3. Uwe Dulleck & Jonas Fooken & Yumei He, 2012. "Public Policy and Individual Labor Market Discrimination: An Artefactual Field Experiment in China," QuBE Working Papers 002, QUT Business School.
    4. Karla Hoff & Priyanka Pandey, 2006. "Discrimination, Social Identity, and Durable Inequalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 206-211, May.

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