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Reputation, social identity, and social conflict

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  • Smith, John

Abstract

We interpret the social identity literature and examine its economic implications. We model a population of agents from two exogenous and well defined social groups. Agents are randomly matched to play a reduced form bargaining game. We show that this struggle for resources drives a conflict through the rational destruction of surplus. We assume that the population contains both unbiased and biased players. Biased players aggressively discriminate against members of the other social group. The existence and specification of the biased player is motivated by the social identity literature. For unbiased players, group membership has no payoff relevant consequences. We show that the unbiased players can contribute to the conflict by aggressively discriminating and that this behavior is consistent with existing empirical evidence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 23336.

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Date of creation: 08 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23336

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Keywords: social identity theory; social fragmentation;

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  1. John B Davis, 2005. "Social Identity Strategies in Recent Economics," Working Papers and Research 0508, Marquette University, Center for Global and Economic Studies and Department of Economics.
  2. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "Interpreting ethnic fragmentation effects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 271-276, April.
  3. Kaushik Basu, 2005. "Racial conflict and the malignancy of identity," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 221-241, December.
  4. Gary Charness & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2007. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1340-1352, September.
  5. Lindqvist, Erik & Östling, Robert, 2006. "Identity and Redistribution," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 659, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 12 Jun 2007.
  6. Holger Strulik, 2005. "Social Composition, Social Conflict, and Economic Development," Discussion Papers 05-16, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  7. Dominic Rohner, 2008. "Reputation, Group Structure and Social Tensions," HiCN Working Papers 40, Households in Conflict Network.
  8. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  9. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  10. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  11. Hillel Rapoport & Avi Weiss, 2001. "The Optimal Size for a Minority," Working Papers 2001-01, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  12. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  13. Götte, Lorenz & Huffman, David B. & Meier, Stephan, 2006. "The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups," IZA Discussion Papers 2020, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
  15. Dan Silverman, 2004. "Street Crime And Street Culture," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 761-786, 08.
  16. Güth, Werner & Levati, M. Vittoria & Ploner, Matteo, 2008. "Social identity and trust--An experimental investigation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1293-1308, August.
  17. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  18. repec:dgr:uvatin:2005078 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Benjamin Bridgman, . "Why Are Ethnically Divided Countries Poor?," Departmental Working Papers 2003-11, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
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Cited by:
  1. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2007. "Identity, Dignity and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 50, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  2. Farzana Afridi & Sherry Xin Li & Yufei Ren, 2010. "Social Identity and Inequality--The Impact of China’s Hukou System," Working papers 190, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  3. David W. Johnston & Grace Lordan, 2014. "When Work Disappears: Racial Prejudice and Recession Labour Market Penalties," CEP Discussion Papers dp1257, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Wagener, Andreas & Kolmar, Martin, 2011. "Group Identities in Conflicts," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48694, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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