The Impact of Participation Policies on Socioeconomic Interactions
The PIs propose to study how affirmative action influences the social and economic network structure between groups. They also will measure how the change in network structure in turn affects other key outcomes (e.g., speed or extent of social learning). To do both of these things they will (i) conduct household surveys to elicit network data, attitudes, and political utilization; (ii) match the survey data to past political reservation assignment rules to study how beliefs and social network structure change in response to constitutional provisions to protect the most disadvantaged groups; (iii) conduct experiments to study the impact of network change on the willingness of members of one group to pass information to members of the other group.
The PIs will study the effect of political reservation on the structure of social and economic networks. Reservation of disfranchised members and women to positions of leadership could affect the network in several ways. Reservation can affect attitudes, either positively or negatively, and influence the resources the reserved group has access to when a member of its community is in a position of leadership. Each of these forces can affect the incentives or willingness to maintain, form or cut links across groups, which may then have effects on the overall structure of the social network. Further, since the social network is the surface on which other processes, such as social learning, takes place, the way affirmative action affects the network structure could have far-reaching implications, influencing how well individuals learn about new opportunities such as jobs.
The PIs plan on developing and estimating a simple model of network formation. Next, they will conduct experiments about information exchange geared to measuring the resistance to passing information across groups and how that resistance responds to affirmative action exposure. Finally, they will conduct an experiment to capture how attitudes influence job search: does exposure to affirmative action influence the degree to which information about new job opportunities spreads?
Supported by the National Science Foundation grant #1559469
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