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Caste Comparisons in India: Evidence From Subjective Well-Being Data

Abstract : This paper evaluates how caste influences economic comparisons in India. Using happiness data from an original panel survey, we find that both within-caste comparisons and between-caste comparisons reduce well-being. Between-caste comparisons reduce well-being three times more than within-caste comparisons. In absolute terms, an increase in rival caste expenditures affects well-being as much as primary expenditure. These findings highlight the strong influence that comparisons between rival castes have on well-being. Yet this comparison scheme turns out to be asymmetrical: only low-caste individuals are affected by the economic successes of their rivals, whereas only higher-caste individuals compete with their fellows.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01030774
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 1:55:11 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 29, 2022 - 10:13:02 AM

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Xavier Fontaine, Katsunori Yamada. Caste Comparisons in India: Evidence From Subjective Well-Being Data. World Development, Elsevier, 2014, 64, pp.407-419. ⟨10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.06.025⟩. ⟨halshs-01030774⟩

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