When castes collide

Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 18:32 in Mathematics & Economics

An hour outside of Varanasi, India, the Ganjari village cricket ground is hot and dusty. Birds pick at a cow carcass beside the road, and a stand further down sells samosas. Players arrive on motorbikes, and the men cluster in teams of five around MIT Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) surveyors, who enter details like the captain’s name and the batting order into tablets. It's a friendly Saturday cricket match — and also a development economics experiment in mediating caste interactions. “You could think of the cricket pitch as a microcosm of caste issues in India,” says Matt Lowe, the leader of the study. This summer, Lowe traveled to India through the MIT-India program at the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) to continue his field work on the J-PAL project.   Lowe studied economics as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge in England and joined the MIT Department of Economics in 2012. During the summer...

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