David Garces Urzainqui, University of Copenhagen

"Market Access and Social Change: Evidence from Road Construction in Rural India"


This paper provides novel empirical evidence on the impact of improved physical connection to markets on social relations in Indian villages. I exploit exogenous variation in the probability of receiving a road induced by eligibility rules for a large scale infrastructure program in a fuzzy regression discontinuity design. Improved access to markets leads to fewer social contacts and decreased cooperation within castes. Roads do not seem to improve relations between castes, but they cause a decline in violent attacks and threats, which complementary evidence suggests might be explained by a reduction in casteist hate crimes. A plausible economic driver of these changes is the disruption of local agricultural labor markets, as emerging outside options for both landlords and laborers render them less mutually dependent.

Contact person: Neda Trifkovic