Toward an Economic Theory of Dysfunctional Identity
We advance a novel choice-theoretic model of “identity” based on the notions of categories and narratives. Identity is conceived as a matter of “reflexive perception” — how people understand themselves. Choosing an identity is equivalent to making a generalization about one’s past that highlights the most salient aspects of experience. When many individuals make a common choice in this regard, they embrace a collective identity which is dysfunctional if it is Pareto dominated by an alternative self-classificatory schema. Using a simple multi-stage risk sharing game, we explore conditions under which dysfunctional collective identities might be expected to emerge.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2004|
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- George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
- George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
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- Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
- George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
- Justine Burns, 2004. "Race and trust in post-apartheid South Africa," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 078, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
- Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Krishna, Vijay, 1985. "Finitely Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 905-22, July.
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