Identities and public policies unexpected effects of political reservations for women in India

Guilhem CASSAN

Identity is an important determinant of economic behavior. While the existing literature focuses on one identity dimension at a time, we show that the multiplicity of identity dimensions matters for economic behavior and that neglecting it may lead policymakers to overlook important, unexpected effects of economic policies. We exploit the randomized nature of political reservations for women in India to show that a policy designed along one identity dimension (gender) alters the distribution of the benefits of this policy along another one (caste). We propose differences in gender norms across caste groups as a mechanism.