Identities and public policies: unintended effects of political reservations for women in India

Cassan, Guilhem ; Vandewalle, Lore

Geneva : The Graduate Institute, International Economics Department, 2017 . - 38 p. : ill.

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Working Paper ; 18/2017

Abstract: Identity is an important determinant of economic behavior. A limitation of the existing literature is the focus on one identity dimension at a time. We show that the multiplicity of identity dimensions matters for economic behavior and that neglecting it may lead policy makers to overlook important, unintended effects of economic policies. We exploit the randomized nature of political reservations for women in India to show that a policy designed along one identity dimension (gender) alters the distribution of the benefits of this policy along another one (caste). We propose an important variation in gender norms across caste groups as a plausible mechanism.

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