The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Caste System

  • Susan Wolcott
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95189-5_2708

Abstract

India’s caste system performed two fundamental functions: insurance through transfers between caste members and, in villages, insurance through protected job assignments across castes. In most of India the landlord had a social responsibility to maintain his lower caste workers in lean periods. This division of labour has been viewed as coercive and exploitative. Yet many groups changed their caste occupation, both upward and downward in ritual ranking. During industrialization, traditional occupational categories did not restrict occupational choices in new industries, but caste continued to play a role in recruitment and support during work stoppages.

Keywords

Akerlof, G Caste system Division of labour India Industrialization Insurance 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

Bibliography

  1. Akerlof, G. 1976. The economics of caste and of the rat race and other woeful tales. Quarterly Journal of Economics 90: 599–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chandavarker, R. 1994. The origins of industrial capitalism in India: Business strategies and the working classes in Bombay, 1900–1940. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Commander, S. 1983. The jajmani system in north India: An examination of its logic and status across two centuries. Modern Asian Studies 17: 283–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cox, D., and E. Jimenez. 1990. Achieving social objectives through private transfers: A review. World Bank Research Observer 5: 205–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Greenough, P. 1982. Prosperity and misery in modern Bengal: The Famine of 1943–1944. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Klass, M. 1978. From field to factory: Community structure and industrialization in West Bengal. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues.Google Scholar
  7. Kolenda, P. 1978. Caste in contemporary India. Menlo Park: The Benjamin/ Cummings Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  8. Maddison, A. 1971. Class structure and economic growth. India and Pakistan since the Moghuls. New York: W.W. Norton and Co.Google Scholar
  9. Morris, M. 1960. Caste and the evolution of the industrial workforce. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 104: 124–133.Google Scholar
  10. Mukerjee, R. 1937. Caste and social change in India. American Journal of Sociology 43: 377–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Platteau, J. 1995. An Indian model of aristocratic patronage. Oxford Economic Papers 47: 636–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Rudner, D. 1994. Caste and capitalism in colonial India: The Nattukottai Chettiars. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  13. Srinivas, M. 1962. Caste in modern India and other essays. London: Asia Publishing House.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Wolcott
    • 1
  1. 1.