Identity-based policies and identity manipulation: Evidence from colonial Punjab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


I study identity-marker based policies and demonstrate the existence of identity manipulation. I analyze the impact of the Punjab Alienation of Land Act (1901), a caste-based legislation, on identity manipulation. Using data from the colonial census, I show that a movement of identity manipulation took place in response to the law. I estimate that in 20 years, 7.5 percent of the population that had an incentive to do so manipulated its identity. I then use an accounting exercise to estimate that the amount of mistargeting caused by this manipulation is between 3.9 percent and 8.2 percent of the land distributed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-131
Number of pages29
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Economic Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Identity-based policies and identity manipulation: Evidence from colonial Punjab'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this