"Census and Salience of Caste: India’s Imagined Communities" (joint with Prateek Raj, and Luigi Zingales)
We study how caste identity became salient in India during colonialism and we suggest that institutions can make a particular social identity salient, by popularizing idealized prescriptions. We examine how the British caste census of 1901 increased the salience of caste identity in India. We find that the regions which formed district committees in 1901 to rank and classify castes, had a higher level of caste-based petitioning in subsequent censuses. We also find that today that people living in these regions have a smaller social circle as they have lower levels of out of caste networking, that politics is more ethnic based, and that the quality of government is lower, consistent with salience in ethnic fractionalization.