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Labor market discrimination in Delhi: Evidence from a field experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Banerjee, Abhijit
  • Bertrand, Marianne
  • Datta, Saugato
  • Mullainathan, Sendhil

Abstract

We study the role of caste and religion in India's new economy sectors--software and call-centers--by sending 3160 fictitious resumes in response to 371 job openings in and around Delhi (India) that were advertised in major city papers and online job sites. We randomly allocate caste-linked surnames across resumes in order to isolate the effect of caste on applicants' job-search outcomes. We find no evidence of discrimination against non-upper-caste (i.e. Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and Other Backward Caste) applicants for software jobs. We do find large and significant differences between callback rates for upper-castes and Other Backward Castes (and to a lesser extent Scheduled Castes) in the case of call-center jobs. There is no evidence of discrimination against Muslims for either of the two kinds of jobs we apply for. Overall, the evidence suggests that applicants' caste identities do not significantly affect the callback decisions of firms. Journal of Comparative Economics 37 (1) (2009) 14-27.

Suggested Citation

  • Banerjee, Abhijit & Bertrand, Marianne & Datta, Saugato & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2009. "Labor market discrimination in Delhi: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 14-27, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:37:y:2009:i:1:p:14-27
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
    2. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
    3. Amin, Mohammad, 2009. "Labor regulation and employment in India's retail stores," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 47-61, March.
    4. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
    5. Cecilia Rouse & Claudia Goldin, 2000. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of "Blind" Auditions on Female Musicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 715-741, September.
    6. Ahsan, Ahmad & Pagés, Carmen, 2009. "Are all labor regulations equal? Evidence from Indian manufacturing," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 62-75, March.
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