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Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being

Author

Listed:
  • George A. Akerlof
  • Rachel E. Kranton

Abstract

Identity Economics provides an important and compelling new way to understand human behavior, revealing how our identities--and not just economic incentives--influence our decisions. In 1995, economist Rachel Kranton wrote future Nobel Prize-winner George Akerlof a letter insisting that his most recent paper was wrong. Identity, she argued, was the missing element that would help to explain why people--facing the same economic circumstances--would make different choices. This was the beginning of a fourteen-year collaboration--and of Identity Economics. The authors explain how our conception of who we are and who we want to be may shape our economic lives more than any other factor, affecting how hard we work, and how we learn, spend, and save. Identity economics is a new way to understand people's decisions--at work, at school, and at home. With it, we can better appreciate why incentives like stock options work or don't; why some schools succeed and others don't; why some cities and towns don't invest in their futures--and much, much more. Identity Economics bridges a critical gap in the social sciences. It brings identity and norms to economics. People's notions of what is proper, and what is forbidden, and for whom, are fundamental to how hard they work, and how they learn, spend, and save. Thus people's identity--their conception of who they are, and of who they choose to be--may be the most important factor affecting their economic lives. And the limits placed by society on people's identity can also be crucial determinants of their economic well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2011. "Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9108, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pup:pbooks:9108
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Banuri’s, Sheheryar & de Oliveira, Angela C.M. & Eckel, Catherine C., 2019. "Care provision: An experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 615-630.
    2. Goel, Deepti & Deshpande, Ashwini, 2016. "Identity, Perceptions and Institutions: Caste Differences in Earnings from Self-Employment in India," IZA Discussion Papers 10198, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Mr. Ashraf Khan, 2018. "A Behavioral Approach to Financial Supervision, Regulation, and Central Banking," IMF Working Papers 2018/178, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Claudia Olivetti & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2020. "Mothers, Peers, and Gender-Role Identity," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 266-301.
    5. Shuo Han & Weijun Cui & Jin Chen & Yu Fu, 2019. "Female CEOs and Corporate Innovation Behaviors—Research on the Regulating Effect of Gender Culture," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(3), pages 1-22, January.
    6. Serdeczny, Olivia & Waters, Eleanor & Chan, Sander, 2016. "Non-economic loss and damage in the context of climate change: understanding the challenges," Discussion Papers 3/2016, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
    7. Ronald Schettkat, 2018. "Revision or Revolution? A Note on Behavioral vs. Neoclassical Economics," Schumpeter Discussion Papers sdp18005, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
    8. Deepti Goel & Ashwini Deshpande, 2020. "Social identity and perceived income adequacy," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(2), pages 339-361, May.
    9. Stephen Ansolabehere & M. Socorro Puy, 2016. "Identity voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 169(1), pages 77-95, October.
    10. Roy Chen & Yan Chen, 2011. "The Potential of Social Identity for Equilibrium Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2562-2589, October.
    11. Robert J. Shiller, 2017. "Narrative Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 967-1004, April.
    12. Rami Galal & Mona Said & Susan Joekes & Mina Sami, 2018. "Gender Diversity, Productivity, and Wages in Egyptian Firms," Working Papers 1207, Economic Research Forum, revised 12 Jun 2018.

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