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Economic Comparison and Group Identity: Lessons from India

  • Xavier Fontaine


    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC))

  • Katsunori Yamada


    (ISER - Institute of Social and Economic Research - Osaka University [Osaka])

The caste issue dominates a large part of India's social and political life. Caste shapes one's identity. Furthermore, strong tensions exist between castes. Using subjective well-being data, we assess the role economic comparisons play in this society. We focus on both within and between-castes comparisons. Within-caste comparisons appear to reduce well-being. Comparisons between rival castes are found to decrease well-being three times more. We link these results to two models in which economic comparison triggers the actual caste-based behaviours (castes' political demands, discrimination).

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number hal-00711212.

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Date of creation: 16 Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:hal-00711212
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