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Caste and Punishment: The Legacy of Caste Culture in Norm Enforcement

  • Hoff, Karla

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • Kshetramade, Mayuresh

    ()

    (affiliation not available)

  • Fehr, Ernst

    ()

    (University of Zurich)

Well-functioning groups enforce social norms that restrain opportunism, but the social structure of a society may encourage or inhibit norm enforcement. Here we study how the exogenous assignment to different positions in an extreme social hierarchy – the caste system – affects individuals' willingness to punish violations of a cooperation norm. Although we control for individual wealth, education, and political participation, low caste individuals exhibit a much lower willingness to punish norm violations that hurt members of their own caste, suggesting a cultural difference across caste status in the concern for members of one's own community. The lower willingness to punish may inhibit the low caste's ability to sustain collective action and so may contribute to its economic vulnerability.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4343.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Journal, 2011, 121 (556), 449-475
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4343
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  1. Trevon Logan & Manisha Shah, 2009. "Face Value: Information and Signaling in an Illegal Market," NBER Working Papers 14841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  3. Fehr, Ernst & Hoff, Karla & Kshetramade, Mayuresh, 2008. "Spite and development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4619, The World Bank.
  4. Rao, Vijayendra, 2005. "Symbolic public goods and the coordination of collective action : a comparison of local development in India and Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3685, The World Bank.
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  6. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Kocher, Martin G. & Cherry, Todd & Kroll, Stephan & Netzer, Robert J. & Sutter, Matthias, 2008. "Conditional cooperation on three continents," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 175-178, December.
  8. Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd & Samuel Bowles & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Richard McElreath, 2001. "Cooperation, Reciprocity and Punishment in Fifteen Small-scale Societies," Working Papers 01-01-007, Santa Fe Institute.
  9. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "History Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," Working Papers id:2811, eSocialSciences.
  10. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
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  12. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2005. "Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation or Reciprocity?," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0503, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  13. Basu, Kaushik, 2003. "Prelude to Political Economy: A Study of the Social and Political Foundations of Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199261857, March.
  14. Matthias Cinyabuguma & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2006. "Can second-order punishment deter perverse punishment?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 265-279, September.
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