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Caste and punishment : the legacy of caste culture in norm enforcement
 
Author:Hoff, Karla; Kshetramade, Mayuresh; Fehr, Ernst; Collection Title:Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 5040
Country:World; Date Stored:2009/09/08
Document Date:2009/09/01Document Type:Policy Research Working Paper
Language:EnglishRegion:The World Region
Report Number:WPS5040SubTopics:Access to Finance; Corruption & Anticorruption Law; Gender and Social Development; Social Inclusion & Institutions; Anthropology
Volume No:1 of 1  

Summary: Well-functioning groups enforce social norms that restrain opportunism, but the social structure of a society may encourage or inhibit norm enforcement. This paper studies 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 the analysis controls 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メs own community. The lower willingness to punish may inhibit the low casteメs ability to sustain collective action and so may contribute to its economic vulnerability.

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