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Keeping Up with the Vaishyas: Caste and Relative Standing

  • Carlsson, Fredrik

    ()

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

  • Gupta, Gautam

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Jadavpur University)

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    ()

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

We investigate the importance of relative income within the Indian Caste system, using a choice experiment. We find that slightly more than half of the marginal utility of income comes from some kind of relative income effects, on average, which is comparable to the results from previous studies in other countries. Belonging to a low caste and having a low family income are associated with higher concern for relative income. Moreover, an increase in the mean income of the caste to which the individual belongs, everything else held constant, reduces utility for the individual. Thus, the negative welfare effect of reduced relative income compared to the average own caste income dominates the positive welfare effect of increased relative income of the own caste relative to other castes.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/2748
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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 171.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 17 Aug 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0171
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/

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