Tuesday, 5 November 2019

A University of Western Australia research project has been awarded a grant for over half a million $AUD to investigate social identities – in particular, gender, ethnicity, and religion – in India.

The project “Social Identities and the Labour Market: What Can Household Surveys Reveal?” is a joint venture with the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Azim Premji University.

The research is expected to have a far-reaching impact on education, employment and policymaking.

The findings will be used to develop better policy interventions that can improve the overall global welfare of disadvantaged people due to gender, ethnic or religious identities.

UWA Professor of Economics and Principal Investigator, Dr Girish Bahal says that while household surveys can provide a wealth of information, conducting a large-scale survey is a long, arduous and expensive process.

“This grant will enable us to fund the costs related to the development of the survey questionnaire and implementing the survey. This grant is pivotal to the success of this project and can be used to design and implement evidence-based policy”, Dr Bahal said.

“The findings from this research are not just relevant to India, but to any multicultural society, like Australia, that aims to achieve high and inclusive economic growth by providing equal opportunities to its residents and by eliminating any identity-based discrimination.”

“The existing literature on the topic does not identify the exact pathways through which social identities affect an individual’s socioeconomic outcomes. We aim to bridge this gap.”

Along with household surveys, this project will conduct “lab experiments” to motivate how ‘X’ causes ‘Y’ capturing, for example, labour market experiences in hiring, promotion, and earnings of individuals with marginalized identity.

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