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Don’t Touch My Road. Evidence from India on Affirmative Action And Everyday Discrimination

Victoire Girard

World Development, 2018, vol. 103, issue C, 1-13

Abstract: This article investigates whether affirmative action, in the form of electoral quotas, affects group-based discrimination. The redistributive effect of quotas is subject to debate, and their ultimate target is discrimination. To identify the effect of electoral quotas, I take advantage of their rotation across space and over time in India. To proxy discrimination, I use a measure of caste-based exclusion from a public infrastructure (namely, streets). In 2006, 44.5% household members of the marginalized castes labeled Scheduled Castes (SC) still suffered from caste-based exclusions. I document that ongoing SC quotas reduce the likelihood of caste-based exclusion for members of the SCs by about one fifth. The results also imply that the effect is not persistent: it disappears with the end of the SC quota. From a policy-maker’s perspective, these results are mixed since electoral quotas do affect everyday discrimination, even if the effect does not last. These results are consistent with a temporary change in the behavior of members of the dominant castes after a one-shot electoral quota. These results are inconsistent with either a change in the stereotypes held by members of the dominant castes, or a change in the aspirations of members of the lower castes.

Keywords: discrimination; affirmative action; quota; caste; Asia; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 D74 J15 O12 O53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Working Paper: Don't Touch My Road. Evidence from India on Affirmative Action and Everyday Discrimination (2016) Downloads
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