ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Savita KulkarniSubscribe to Savita Kulkarni

Culture, Community and Institutions

Mainstream economic theory holds that economic agents are purely self-interested players. However, individual preferences could be socially determined by sustained enculturation in contexts that emphasise and applaud cooperative behaviour that may lead to pro-social individual preferences. If this is the case, communities with long-established social norms of cooperation might make individuals behave more cooperatively even when selfish behaviour is guaranteed to go unpunished. Can communities where the norm of cooperation is culturally embedded solve social dilemmas better than communities which lack such cultures? Can such cultures be engineered in a relatively short span of time? These questions were evaluated through a finitely repeated public good game in two model villages of Maharashtra, known for local development achieved through voluntary labour, and two villages lacking such a history. We observed higher contributions to public goods in communities with histories of cooperation. And found that variations across individuals were significantly higher than variations across villages, indicating that village-wide cultures may not be as important as individual-level preferences.

Stereotypical Occupational Segregation and Gender Inequality

This paper attempts to distinguish "trust in cooperation" and "trust in ability" with respect to gender in an experimental trust game. "Trust in ability" with respect to gender is explored in the context of hands-on mechanical ability where females are stereotypically believed to be inefficient. Such stereotypes govern, directly or indirectly, women's access to education and employment, resulting in occupational segregation of the labour market. All this further intensifies gender inequality. We observed higher probability of exhibiting stereotype among men and women paired with other women, despite a statistically insignificant gender gap in actual mechanical performances. This indicates that "trust in ability" can be governed by such stereotypes and affect economic outcomes. We seek causes of the prevalence of gender stereotype in evolutionary psychology. We also describe the demotivating psychological process women suffered from, due to endorsement of such stereotypes by society.

What Drives Inflation in India: Overheating or Input Costs?

This study takes a closer look at some of the drivers of inflation in manufacturing prices in India. It indicates that "overheating", which has recently acquired policy focus, drives inflation in the short run, whereas international materials and energy prices drive inflation over the short as well as the long run. The study implies that restrictive monetary policy might be of only limited relevance in controlling non-food inflation. Public policy aimed at minimising the impact of input cost shocks might work better in the long run. In the meanwhile, the restrictive monetary policy followed by the Reserve Bank of India might worsen the downturn that has begun in January 2010.
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