Can't Buy Me Love? A Field Experiment Exploring the Trade-off Between Income and Caste-Status in an Indian Matrimonial Market

A large body of literature depicts that status-based discrimination is pervasive, but is silent on how economic incentive interacts with such discrimination. This study addresses this question by designing a field experiment in a reputable arranged-marriage market that is prone to strong caste-status based discrimination. We place newspaper advertisements of potential grooms by systematically varying their caste and income and focus on responses of higher caste females to lower caste males. The substantive finding is that despite the evidence of discrimination, discriminatory behavior of higher status females decreases with an increase in the advertised monthly income of lower status males.


First Version: May 2008

This Version: November 2010

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