Gender Discrimination and Social Identity: Experimental Evidence from Urban PakistanISER Internal Seminars

Gender discrimination in Pakistan appears heterogeneous: while Pakistan has the most imbalanced sex ratio in the world, women have prominent political leadership. At the same time, the society is fragmented along social and religious lines. We investigate whether and how young educated Pakistani women are discriminated against by young educated men, evaluate the nature (taste-based versus statistical) of this discrimination, and analyze how this discrimination varies by the social status of both genders. We use an experimental approach to identify gender discrimination by randomly matching 2,836 male and female students from four Madrassas (religious seminaries), an Islamic University, and two Liberal Universities in several experiments of economic decision-making. These three groups (institutions) clearly represent different identities within the Pakistani society. Gender discrimination is not uniform in intensity and nature across the educated Pakistani society and varies as a function of the social identity of both individuals who interact. Liberal University students, who are wealthier, more exposed to Western ideas and less religious, do not discriminate against women. Madrassa students, who are poorer and more religious, tend to discriminate against women, particularly those who belong to the lower socioeconomic group and are closest to them in social distance. Moreover, this discrimination is entirely taste-based. Islamic University students—who fare in the middle in term of wealth and religiosity—have a less uniform behavior. Islamic University males favor Liberal University females who are of higher social status, but they do not favor Islamic University females who are from the same social status.

Adeline Delavande (ISER) and Basit Zafar (New York Fed)

Presented by:

Adeline Delavande (ISER)

Date & time:

November 16, 2011 1:00 pm

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