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

Author

Listed:
  • Hoff, Karla

    () (World Bank)

  • Kshetramade, Mayuresh

    () (affiliation not available)

  • Fehr, Ernst

    () (University of Zurich)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hoff, Karla & Kshetramade, Mayuresh & Fehr, Ernst, 2009. "Caste and Punishment: The Legacy of Caste Culture in Norm Enforcement," IZA Discussion Papers 4343, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4343
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    informal sanctions; third party punishment; endogenous social preferences; social norms; social exclusion; collective action; caste;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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