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Identity, Perceptions and Institutions: Caste Differences in Earnings from Self-Employment in India

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  • Ashwini Deshpande
  • Deepti Goel

Abstract

Using data from two rounds of the Employment-Unemployment Survey of the National Sample Survey for 2004-5 and 2009-10, we investigate the relationship between social identity, specifically caste identity in India, and perceptions of self-worth as measured by the amounts that individuals consider as remunerative earnings from self-employment. We also investigate if institutional change (e.g. a policy intervention such as an employment guarantee program, or change in the ruling party in power) mitigates this relationship. Finally, we examine the relationship between caste identity and actual earnings, and how institutional change can influence it. Our main finding is that caste identity in contemporary India does shape perceptions of self-worth. Among the fully self-employed, we find that controlling for other characteristics, lower-ranked groups earn lower amounts and perceive lower amounts as being remunerative. Further, institutional factors alter self-perceptions differentially for different caste groups, but in more nuanced ways than our ex-ante beliefs.

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  • Ashwini Deshpande & Deepti Goel, 2016. "Identity, Perceptions and Institutions: Caste Differences in Earnings from Self-Employment in India," Working Papers id:11389, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:11389
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Klonner, Stefan & Oldiges , Christian, 2014. "Safety Net for India's Poor or Waste of Public Funds? Poverty and Welfare in the Wake of the World's Largest Job Guarantee Program," Working Papers 0564, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
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    Keywords

    employment-unemployment survey; National Sample Survey; social identity; caste identity; India; self-worth; self-employment; institutional change; employment guarantee program; self-perception;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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