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Caste and punishment: the legacy of caste culture in norm enforcement


Hoff, Karla; Kshetramade, Mayuresh; Fehr, Ernst (2011). Caste and punishment: the legacy of caste culture in norm enforcement. Economic Journal, 121(556):F449-F475.

Abstract

Well-functioning groups enforce social norms that restrain opportunism. We study how the assignment to the top or bottom of the caste system affects the altruistic punishment of norm violations. Individuals at the bottom of the hierarchy exhibit a much lower willingness to punish norm violations that hurt members of their own caste. We can rule out self-selection into castes and control for wealth, education and political experience. We thus plausibly identify the impact of caste status on altruistic punishment. The lower willingness to punish may impair the low castes’ ability to enforce contracts, to ensure property rights and sustain cooperation.

Abstract

Well-functioning groups enforce social norms that restrain opportunism. We study how the assignment to the top or bottom of the caste system affects the altruistic punishment of norm violations. Individuals at the bottom of the hierarchy exhibit a much lower willingness to punish norm violations that hurt members of their own caste. We can rule out self-selection into castes and control for wealth, education and political experience. We thus plausibly identify the impact of caste status on altruistic punishment. The lower willingness to punish may impair the low castes’ ability to enforce contracts, to ensure property rights and sustain cooperation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:November 2011
Deposited On:09 Nov 2011 13:55
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 09:35
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0013-0133
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2011.02476.x

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