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CEP/STICERD Applications Seminars

Effects of caste-based affirmative action in governance on socio-economic networks and resource provision

Emily Breza (Harvard University), joint with Sumhith Aradhyula, Arun Chandrasekhar and M.R. Sharan

Friday 05 May 2023 12:00 - 13:30

SAL 1.04, 1st Floor Conference Room, Sir Arthur Lewis Building, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH

About this event

We study the impacts of political affirmative action for historically disadvantaged caste groups in Bihar, India on village social and economic networks. These networks shape the socio-economic landscape, serving many functions such as facilitating social learning or forming the basis for informal institutions. To estimate the causal impacts of the policy, we conduct surveys in communities around the discontinuity in the state government’s policy assignment rule. We have two main findings. First, the marginal constituency assigned to the \emph{reservation} policy experiences a drop in cross-caste network links and an increase in homophily. Consistent with increased homophily, reservation leads to less social learning when information is introduced to the community. Second, we find that the reservation improves access to redistribution schemes. Both lower and upper castes benefit, indicating no crowd-out at the expense of upper castes. Strikingly, we find no change in the salience of caste concerns, no shifts in beliefs about trustworthiness, competence, or work ethic, among others, across caste. Our findings suggest that there is scope for pairing reservation with other interventions to mitigate the impacts of affirmative action on fractionalization while preserving the resource allocation benefits.

Participants are expected to adhere to the CEP Events Code of Conduct.


This event will take place in SAL 1.04, 1st Floor Conference Room, Sir Arthur Lewis Building, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH.

The building is labelled SAL on the LSE campus map. You can also find us on Google Maps. For further information, go to contact us.

This series is part of the CEP's Labour Markets programme.