Measuring Explicit Prejudice: Findings from Social Attitudes Research, India

Tuesday Seminar
Event Speaker: 
Diane Coffey
Event Time: 
02:57 PM to 04:27 PM
Event Venue: 
HSS Committee Room (MS 610)


Measuring explicit prejudice, meaning measuring clearly stated discriminatory attitudes and behaviors, is an important tool for understanding discrimination in a society.  This working paper presents results about explicit prejudice against women and Dalits in Delhi, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan using newly collected mobile phone survey data. 

For some of the indicators of explicit prejudice that we study, we compare data from India with data collected in the United States.  These comparisons are useful both because of the parallels between casteism in India and racism in the United States and because declining explicit prejudice in the United States provides an opportunity to contextualize research on social attitudes and explicit prejudice more broadly. 

For other indicators, we compare the mobile phone survey data with data from the India Human Development Survey, 2011.  This comparison allows us to validate the quality of the mobile phone survey data and to note that there has been little change over the past 5 years in the indicators that both surveys measure.  

We document high levels of explicit prejudice against both women and Dalits and we reflect on the ways that these new data can enhance our understanding of social progress in India.


This paper is co-authored with Payal Hathi, Nidhi Khurana, and Amit Thorat.

Diane Coffey is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Population Research at the University of Texas, Austin, a co-executive director of r.i.c.e., a research institute for compassionate economics, and a visiting researcher at the Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi Centre. She studies that health and social inequality in India.

Payal Hathi is a managing director for r.i.c.e., a research institute for compassionate economics. She studies health, gender, social attitudes and service delivery in India.

Nidhi Khurana is a research fellow at r.i.c.e., a research institute for compassionate economics. She studies sanitation and social attitudes in India.

Amit Thorat is an Assistant Professor at the Center for the Study of Regional Development at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. He studies income, education, and health inequalities, as well as the continuing practice of untouchability in India.