We conduct a public goods game in three small towns in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Due to historical military conquest, until 1947 these towns were on (barely) opposite sides of a colonial border separating British India from the Princely States. Our research design offers a treatment comparison between the towns of (British) Kekri and (Princely) Sarwar, and a control comparison between (Princely) Sarwar and (Princely) Shahpura. We find no significant difference in contributions to home town groups, but a significant difference in contributions to mixed town groups. Participants in (British) Kekri are more co-operative (i.e., contribute more) in mixed town groups compared to those in (Princely) Sarwar. We find the differences are driven by individuals with family ties to the towns, and we find no differences in the control comparison. Our results highlight the enduring effects of colonial rule on social norms of co-operation.
Chaudhary, L., Rubin, J., Iyer, S., & Shrivastava, A. (2018). Culture and colonial legacy: Evidence from public goods games. ESI Working Paper 18-06. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.chapman.edu/esi_working_papers/244