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Theoretical Notes on Racial Conflict and Identity

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  • Basu, Kaushik

    (Cornell U)

Abstract

This paper demonstrates how our sense of identity can emerge out of mere markers of social distinction that may have no innate significance, but, nevertheless, spread to various aspects of our lives and be the root of conflict. The basis of such conflicts could arise from the use of race to form conditional judgments about people's behavior. Moreover, there are contexts where racial conflict is inevitable even though, if individuals had common knowledge of one another's preferences, there would be no conflict. It is argued that this kind of conflict, where many individuals have no innate aggressive preference, is widespread and understanding the process that gives rise to such conflict is the key to crafting effective policy that contains it.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 04-11.

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Date of creation: Jun 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:04-11

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