Religious fragmentation, social identity and rent-seeking: Evidence from an artefactual field experiment in India

Paper number: 15/12

Paper date: October 27, 2015

Year: 2015

Paper Category: Discussion Paper

Authors

Surajeet Chakravarty, Miguel A. Fonseca, Sudeep Ghosh and Sugata Marjit

Abstract

We examine the impact of religious identity and village-level religious fragmentation on rent seeking behavior. We report on a series of two-player Tullock contest experiments conducted on a sample of 516 Hindu and Muslim participants in rural West Bengal, India. Our treatments are the identity of the two players and the degree of religious fragmentation in the village where subjects reside. We find no statistically significant differences in rent seeking behavior across different villages. We also do not find any significant differences in behavior as a function of players' identities. This is in contrast to evidence from the same sample which recorded significant differences in cooperation levels in prisoners' dilemma and stag hunt games. We attribute this to the fact that social identity may have a more powerful effect on cooperation than on conflict.

JEL classification numbers: C93, D03, H41
Keywords: Social Identity, Social Fragmentation, Artefactual Field Experiment, Rent Seeking.

Religious fragmentation, social identity and rent-seeking: Evidence from an artefactual field experiment in India Religious fragmentation, social identity and rent-seeking: Evidence from an artefactual field experiment in India