Is success in a task used strategically by individuals to motivate their beliefs prior to taking action in a subsequent, unrelated, task? Also, is the distortion of beliefs reinforced for individuals who have lower status in society? Conducting an artefactual field experiment in India, we show that success when competing in a task increases the performers’ self-confidence and competitiveness in the subsequent task. We also find that such spillovers affect the self-confidence of low-status individuals more than that of high-status individuals. Receiving good news under Affirmative Action, however, boosts confidence across tasks regardless of the caste status.
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