EconomicsResearch Seminar Series 06-2020

Topic: : Experimental Evidence on Public Good Behavior across Pakistan's Fractured Education System

By Dr Zehra Aftab

Presenter: Dr Zehra Aftab is a Research Associate at the American University, Washington DC. She has over seven years of applied research experience, working for both public and private sector organizations, including Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and Social Policy Development Center (SPDC). Her research interests focus on inequality, social stratification and social mobility, especially in the context of post-colonial societies. The distributional aspects of policies are of particular interest, with a special attention to underlying causes relating to gender, language, and education. Her current projects include women and mobility, and the contentious subject of medium of instruction in Pakistan's schooling system.

Abstract:This paper adopts identity as a central concept, and argues that both, our own identity, and also the identity of the individuals we interact with shapes our behavior. Exploiting the design of a public goods game I investigate how Pakistani university students from distinct education streams behave. The following questions are explored: (1) Does cooperative behavior differ across identity groups and class lines, (2) Does the propensity to punish vary across gender and class, and (3) Does the behavior vary within gender and social identity groups. We consider three types of universities which are proxies for our three identity groups in the specific context of the Pakistani educational landscape: Elite English-medium universities with a liberal Arts curriculum, Public and Private sector universities which cater to middle and lower middle income students, and Madrassas (Islamic seminaries). These groups are further sliced across gender lines. Students from each of these three groups differ not only in terms of their socio-economic background, but also in terms of the language of instruction, the religious content of their curriculum, and even their exposure to print and electronic media. In order to better understand these differences the experiment is accompanied with a detailed questionnaire that asks the students about their educational, social, and religious experience.

Date: June 25th, 2020
Time: 11:00 AM
Webinar link:
Meeting ID: 653 013 4089


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