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Racial conflict and the malignancy of identity

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  • Kaushik Basu

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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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Suggested Citation

  • Kaushik Basu, 2005. "Racial conflict and the malignancy of identity," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 3(3), pages 221-241, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecinq:v:3:y:2005:i:3:p:221-241
    DOI: 10.1007/s10888-005-9002-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, January.
    2. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjöström, 2004. "Arms Races and Negotiations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 351-369.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Keuschnigg, Marc & Schikora, Jan, 2014. "The dark side of leadership: An experiment on religious heterogeneity and cooperation in India," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 19-26.
    2. Morita, Hodaka & Servátka, Maroš, 2013. "Group identity and relation-specific investment: An experimental investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 95-109.
    3. Amegashie, J. Atsu, 2008. "Socially-Tolerable Discrimination," MPRA Paper 8238, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Raul Caruso & Marco Di Domizio & David A. Savage, 2015. "Hic Sunt Leones! The role of national identity on aggressiveness between national football teams," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Politica Economica ispe0076, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    5. Kaneko, Mamoru & Mitra, Aniruddha, 2011. "Discrimination in festival games with limited observability and accessibility," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 34-45, July.
    6. John Smith, 2012. "Reputation, Social Identity and Social Conflict," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(4), pages 677-709, August.
    7. Rachel E. Kranton, 2016. "Identity Economics 2016: Where Do Social Distinctions and Norms Come From?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 405-409, May.
    8. Amegashie, A., 2008. "Socially-Tolerable Discrimination," Working Papers 0806, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
    9. Harbaugh, Rick & To, Ted, 2014. "Opportunistic discrimination," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 192-204.
    10. Hodaka Morita & Maroš Servátka, 2016. "Does Group Identity Prevent Inefficient Investment in Outside Options? An Experimental Investigation," Research in Experimental Economics,in: Experiments in Organizational Economics, volume 19, pages 105-126 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    11. Keuschnigg, Marc & Schikora, Jan, 2014. "The Dark Side of Leadership: An Experiment on Religious Heterogeneity and Cooperation in India," MPRA Paper 57533, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Rohner, Dominic, 2011. "Reputation, group structure and social tensions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 188-199, November.
    13. Rohner, D., 2006. "Information, Reputation and Ethnic Conflict," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0658, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    14. Basu, Kaushik, 2006. "Identity, Trust and Altruism: Sociological Clues to Economic Development," Working Papers 06-05, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    15. Cadsby, C. Bram & Servátka, Maroš & Song, Fei, 2013. "How competitive are female professionals? A tale of identity conflict," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 284-303.
    16. Fernando Aguiar & Pablo Branas-Garza & Maria Paz Espinosa & Luis Miller, 2010. "Personal identity: a theoretical and experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 261-275.
    17. Kaushik Basu, 2007. "Identity and altruism: The Moral basis of prosperity and oppression," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 08-08, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
    18. repec:wbk:wbpubs:28017 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Basu, Kaushik, 2006. "Participatory Equity, Identity, and Productivity: Policy Implications for Promoting Development," Working Papers 06-06, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    20. Chowdhury, Subhasish M. & Jeon, Joo Young & Ramalingam, Abhijit, 2016. "Identity and group conflict," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 107-121.
    21. Amegashie, J. Atsu, 2008. "Socially-Tolerable Discrimination," MPRA Paper 8543, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. repec:bla:kyklos:v:70:y:2017:i:4:p:511-545 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. J. Atsu Amegashie, 2008. "Socially-Tolerable Discrimination," CESifo Working Paper Series 2292, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    C72; D74; D80; Z10;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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