Skip to main content

Political Science and Political Economy Research Seminar

Cultural Capital and Access to Opportunity in India

Sam Asher (Imperial)

Tuesday 16 January 2024 14:00 - 15:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.


About this event

Cultural capital -- specific human capital that allows individuals access to opportunity in stratified societies -- has long been a major field of research in sociology. Economics has been slow to study this concept in part because of the difficulty in measuring cultural capital and in finding suitable empirical settings to study its effects. Leveraging novel data on historical social norms of each one of India's 4,635 ethnic groups (castes, tribes, etc), we generate a new measure of cultural capital by calculating the cultural distance between each of India communities and the economically dominant group in every village, whose control of land gives them significant power over their neighbour's economic, social, and political lives. We use a difference-in-differences strategy that compares members of the same community experiencing differences in cultural capital due to differences in the dominant community across villages. We find that individuals living in communities with culturally distant dominant groups experience large reductions in educational attainment, anthropometric outcomes, consumption and income per capita.

The Political Science and Political Economy (PSPE) research group at the LSE brings together faculty and PhD students who do quantitative and/or formal research on political institutions, political behaviour, public policy, and political economy.

The PSPE Research Seminar provides a venue for researchers (mostly from outside of the LSE) to present their work.

These seminars are held on Tuesdays in term time at 14.00-15.30, both ONLINE AND IN PERSON in room SAL 3.05, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar coordinator: Mathilde Emeriau

Contact gov.comms@lse.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list and to recieve the zoom link.

For further information please contact Maddie Giles: gov.comms@lse.ac.uk.