“If discrimination against an historically oppressed social group is dismantled, will the group forge ahead? Hoff and Pandey present experimental evidence that a history of social and legal disabilities may have persistent effects on a group’s earnings through its impact on individuals’ expectations. In the first experiment, 321 high-caste and 321 low-caste junior high school male student volunteers in rural India performed the task of solving mazes under economic incentives. There were no caste differences in performance when caste was not publicly revealed, but making caste salient created a large and robust caste gap. When a nonhuman factor influencing rewards (a random draw) was introduced, the caste gap disappeared.”

Does anonymity caused by urbanisation an imporatant factor in blurring caste identities and thereby allowing equality of opportunity? Two cheers for urbanisation!

More of the abstract below and the full paper is here.

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Parth Shah
Parth J. Shah is Founder President of Centre for Civil Society, a think tank that promotes choice and accountability across public and private sectors. Parth’s research and advocacy work focuses on the themes of economic freedom, choice and competition in education, property rights approach to the environment and new public management. He is a member of the education task-force of the governments of Delhi and Karnataka, and serves on the Senate of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. He recently edited Liberalism in India.