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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Field experiment on the behavioural foundations of inter-group discrimination and its effects on public good provision in India

Tackling increasing resource scarcity is one of the major challenges to policy-makers in developing countries. An important aspect of resource scarcity involves public goods. Lack of public goods, like health and education, can significantly reduce the welfare of individuals and households and often this affects the poorest the most. In India, these issues are amplified by the existence of a long-standing social structure based around caste and religion. Such social fragmentation can result in social exclusion and/or lower public good provision.

This project investigates the behavioural foundations of inter-group discrimination on economic performance in rural West Bengal, India. It builds on existing household survey work on religious- and caste-based social exclusion in villages in West Bengal by conducting a series of field experiments.

Field experiments study the decisions of agents who in their daily lives are affected by poverty, and help determine the extent to which their preferences regarding caste, ethnicity and religion determine their willingness to socially exclude others or themselves to be excluded.

This project‘s findings will help policy-makers to the extent that they facilitate the identification of the right policy response to social exclusion and lower economic performance, which in turn are key determinants of poverty.