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Caste Comparisons in India: Evidence From Subjective Well-Being Data

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  • Fontaine, Xavier
  • Yamada, Katsunori

Abstract

This paper evaluates how caste influences economic comparisons in India. Using happiness data from an original panel survey, we find that both within-caste comparisons and between-caste comparisons reduce well-being. Between-caste comparisons reduce well-being three times more than within-caste comparisons. In absolute terms, an increase in rival caste expenditures affects well-being as much as primary expenditure. These findings highlight the strong influence that comparisons between rival castes have on well-being. Yet this comparison scheme turns out to be asymmetrical: only low-caste individuals are affected by the economic successes of their rivals, whereas only higher-caste individuals compete with their fellows.

Suggested Citation

  • Fontaine, Xavier & Yamada, Katsunori, 2014. "Caste Comparisons in India: Evidence From Subjective Well-Being Data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 407-419.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:64:y:2014:i:c:p:407-419
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.06.025
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    Cited by:

    1. van Landeghem, Bert & Vandeplas, Anneleen, 2017. "The Relationship between Status and Happiness: Evidence from the Caste System in Rural India," IZA Discussion Papers 11099, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Kebede, Bereket & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2015. "Social Preferences and Agricultural Innovation: An Experimental Case Study from Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 267-280.
    3. Bert Van Landeghem & Anneleen Vandeplas, 2016. "Lower in rank, but happier: the complex relationship between status and happiness," LICOS Discussion Papers 38516, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    4. VAN DEN BROECK, Goedele & MAERTENS, Miet, 2015. "Does Off-farm Employment Make Women in Rural Senegal Happy?," Working Papers 232593, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for Agricultural and Food Economics.
    5. Fernandez, Antonia & Della Giusta, Marina & Kambhampati, Uma S., 2015. "The Intrinsic Value of Agency: The Case of Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 92-107.
    6. repec:eee:enepol:v:113:y:2018:i:c:p:466-477 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Birthal, Pratap Singh & Roy, Devesh & Negi, Digvijay S., 2015. "Agricultural diversification and poverty in India:," IFPRI discussion papers 1446, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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