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Does Employment Quota Explain Occupational Choice Among Disadvantaged Groups? A Natural Experiment from India

Prakash, Nishith and Howard, Larry (2008): Does Employment Quota Explain Occupational Choice Among Disadvantaged Groups? A Natural Experiment from India.

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Abstract

This paper examines the effect of a federally-mandated public sector employment quota policy for minorities on their occupational choice. We utilize multiple logit models to estimate the effect of the policy on the choice between a high, middle, or low-skill public sector occupation during the 1980s and 1990s. The main findings are, first, the policy has a significant effect on the choice of occupation for both groups. The policy increases the probability of the scheduled caste group choosing high-skill occupations and decreases the probability of choosing middle-skill occupations. In contrast, the policy decreases the probability of the scheduled tribe group choosing high-skill occupations and increases their probability of choosing low-skill occupations. Second, the influence of the policy is interrelated with an individual's years of schooling. Third, we find evidence of employment quota externalities in that a policy targeted at one group affects the occupational choice of the other group. Overall, the results suggest that federally-mandated employment quotas do change occupational choice for the target disadvantaged groups and contribute to their improved socio-economic standing.

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