This paper attempts to assess the role of identity in the context of charitable giving and punitive behavior among Hindu natives and partition refugees of West Bengal, i.e. those who have migrated to West Bengal (in India) from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), post-partition of India in 1947 using a detailed and unique dataset from the Indian state of West Bengal. 800 randomly selected Hindu natives as well as partition refugees selected for the field experiment were asked to donate towards the wellbeing of four different religious and national groups — namely; Hindus from India, Hindus from Bangladesh, Muslims from India and Muslims from Bangladesh. We find robust evidence that the partition refugees donate significantly more (compared to natives) to Hindu Bangladeshis at the expense of Muslim Indians, thereby suggesting that their religious identity is relatively stronger for the migrants compared to national identity. However, when we examine in detail we find that this favoritism towards Hindu Bangladeshis vanishes over time as individuals assimilate further and start identifying more with the country of residence and Indian Muslims.
About the speaker:
Dr Debayan Pakrashi is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur. He is an applied microeconomist interested in behavioural, health and economic development. He has published in journals like Journal of Development Economics, Social Indicators Research, Journal of Agricultural Economics, Risk Analysis, Review of Income and Wealth, Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization, Economic Modelling among others. He completed his PhD from the University of Queensland and was a post-doctoral researcher at Behavioural Science Centre at the University of Stirling. He also worked as Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Scholar, working on the Rural-Urban Migration in China and Indonesia (RUMiCI) project. He received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Thesis and the Australian Alumni Excellence Award India under the Young Achiever category for his work in 2015. Currently, he is working on several research projects in India and Bangladesh with leading experts in the field of behavioural economics and impact evaluation.