Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Economics Dept.


Dan LaFave

Second Advisor

Tim Hubbard


This study investigates the intersectional effects of affirmative action policies within the con- text of rural local councils in India. Utilizing the natural experiment provided by the randomized implementation of reservation policies in Uttar Pradesh’s gram panchayats, this research exam- ines how the intersectionality of marginalized identities—specifically gender and caste—affects policy outcomes. Employing data from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guar- antee Act (MGNREGA) and gram panchayat elections from 2015 and 2021, the impact on job demand and public asset creation is evaluated. The findings reveal that while female leaders gen- erally improve job demand and public asset creation, female leaders from Scheduled Castes (SC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) do not achieve similar outcomes. This research highlights a hierarchy in policy effectiveness, with intersectionally marginalized leaders (SC and OBC women) often at the bottom. These insights are crucial for informing future affirmative action policies, par- ticularly in the context of expanding women’s reservations in higher legislative bodies.


Caste, Gender, Intersectionality, Affirmative Action, Gram Panchayat, MGNREGA