Can More Education Reduce Opposition to Intermarriage? Comparing India and the United States

Payal Hathi , University of California, Berkeley

Intermarriage between races or castes is often used as a measure of average, population-level social tolerance. It is commonly assumed that increases in education will make a society more tolerant. General Social Survey (GSS) data between 1990 and 2016 show a dramatic rise in acceptance by whites of intermarriage with blacks in the US. In contrast, the Social Attitudes Research India (SARI) survey shows widespread opposition by non-low-caste individuals of intermarriage with low-caste individuals in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in 2016. Multivariate regression results show that in both the US and India, greater education is associated with less opposition to intermarriage, even after controlling for relevant covariates, but effect sizes are small. Further analysis reveals that despite cross-sectional trends, improvements in education were not the major driver of liberalizing racial attitudes on intermarriage in the US, and are not likely to reduce future opposition to intercaste marriage substantially in India.

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 Presented in Session 8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, & Inequality