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Ethnic Norms and Their Transformation through Reputational Cascades

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  • Kuran, Timur

Abstract

Ethnic norms are the ethnically symbolic behavioral codes that individuals must follow to retain social acceptance. They are sustained partly by sanctions that individuals impose on each other in trying to establish good credentials. This essay analyzes the "ethnification" process through which ethnic norms become more demanding. The argument hinges on interdependencies among individual behaviors. These allow one person's adjustments to trigger additional adjustments through a reputational cascade--a self-reinforcing process by which people motivated to protect and enhance their reputations induce each other to step up their ethnic activities. According to the analysis, a society exhibiting low ethnic activity generates social forces tending to preserve that condition; but if these forces are overcome, the result may be massive ethnification. One implication is that similarly developed societies may exhibit very different levels of ethnic activity. Another is that ethnically based hatreds constitute by-products of ethnification rather than its mainspring. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Kuran, Timur, 1998. "Ethnic Norms and Their Transformation through Reputational Cascades," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 623-659, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:27:y:1998:i:2:p:623-59
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/468038
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    Cited by:

    1. Constant, Amelie F. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Work and Money: Payoffs by Ethnic Identity and Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 4275, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Rubin, Jared, 2014. "Centralized institutions and cascades," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 340-357.
    3. Nathan Berg & Jeong-Yoo Kim, 2016. "Harsh Norms And Screening For Loyalty," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 205-217, April.
    4. Tewodaj Mogues & Michael Carter, 2005. "Social capital and the reproduction of economic inequality in polarized societies," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 3(3), pages 193-219, December.
    5. Amelie F. Constant & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2011. "Migration, Ethnicity and Economic Integration," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume III, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Martinsson, Peter, 2006. "Honestly, why are you driving a BMW?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 129-146, June.
    7. Breitmoser, Yves & Tan, Jonathan H.W. & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2014. "On the beliefs off the path: Equilibrium refinement due to quantal response and level-k," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 102-125.
    8. Levy, Moshe, 2005. "Social phase transitions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 71-87, May.
    9. Constant, Amelie F. & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Ethnosizing immigrants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 274-287, March.
    10. Amelie F. Constant & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2008. "Measuring Ethnic Identity and its Impact on Economic Behavior," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 424-433, 04-05.
    11. Licht Amir N., 2008. "Social Norms and the Law: Why Peoples Obey the Law," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(3), pages 715-750, December.
    12. Paolo Masella, 2013. "National identity and ethnic diversity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 437-454, April.
    13. David Hugh-Jones & Alexia Katsanidou & Gerhard Riener, 2009. "Political Discrimination in the Aftermath of Violence: the case of the Greek riots," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 30, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    14. Berg, Nathan, 2006. "Behavioral Labor Economics," MPRA Paper 26366, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Kahanec, Martin & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2008. "International Migration, Ethnicity and Economic Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 3450, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Strulik Holger, 2007. "Steht auf, wenn ihr Deutsche seid!: Sozio-ökonomische Erklärungsansätze der neuen Patriotismuswelle anläßlich der Fußball-WM," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 58(2), pages 151-163, August.
    17. Beth Yarbrough & Robert Yarbrough, 2006. "Book Review," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 181-188, August.
    18. Rustam Romaniuc, 2012. "Judicial Dissent under Externalities and Incomplete Information," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 6(3), pages 209-224, October.
    19. repec:spr:joecth:v:64:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00199-016-0990-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Nathan Berg & Jeong-Yoo Kim, 2013. "Prohibition of Riba and Gharar: A signaling and screening explanation?," Working Papers 1314, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2013.
    21. Constant, Amelie F., 2014. "Ethnic Identity and Work," IZA Discussion Papers 8571, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Beth Yarbrough & Robert Yarbrough, 2000. "Contracting Boundaries as Institutional Infrastructure: Efficacy, Adaptation, and Obsolescence: Commentary on La Croix and Ghiselin's Comments," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 169-176, May.

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