Saturday, April 13

Does Social Identity Constrain Rural Entrepreneurship? The Role of Financial Inclusion

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By Sandhya Garg, Samarth Gupta & Sushanta Mallick

This paper examines whether better financial access can mitigate the impact of social identity on entrepreneurship. Using a novel dataset of Indian villages and distance to bank branches, we find that proximity to a bank branch improves non-agricultural entrepreneurship of underprivileged caste groups in India, with a significant entry occurring in sectors which were dominated by the privileged caste groups. We find that this effect is mediated by the uptake of institutional credit by under-privileged groups. Our results show that the financial inclusion can break rigid social norms around caste and occupation in India.

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