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

42 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Karla Hoff

Karla Hoff

World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC); World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Mayuresh Kshetramade

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics

Ernst Fehr

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 1, 2009

Abstract

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'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.

Keywords: Gender and Social Development, Corruption & Anitcorruption Law, Anthropology, Access to Finance, Social Inclusion & Institutions

Suggested Citation

Hoff, Karla and Kshetramade, Mayuresh and Fehr, Ernst, Caste and Punishment: The Legacy of Caste Culture in Norm Enforcement (September 1, 2009). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5040, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1471138

Karla Hoff (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC) ( email )

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Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/khoff

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

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Washington, DC 20433
United States

Mayuresh Kshetramade

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

Ernst Fehr

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

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Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland
+41 1 634 3709 (Phone)
+41 1 634 4907 (Fax)

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