Laws, Norms and Prejudice: Gay Rights in India
Violence against minorities is often driven by extreme identity-based prejudice, which itself is typically underpinned by powerful and persistent social norms. But legal changes, such as granting rights to minority groups, may have the power to rapidly transform these norms by shifting people’s perception of what behavior is socially acceptable. This project will test whether the expansion of the legal rights of homosexual people in India, a group that is highly vulnerable to identity-based violence, can reduce anti-gay behavior by altering the social norms of prejudice. Leveraging a Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that decriminalized homosexuality across India, this RCT in Tamil Nadu will measure the effect of exposing individuals to the information that homosexuality is legal, and examine the impact on anti-gay behaviors, sentiment, and communication.