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Social Inference and Occupational Choice: Type-Based Biases in a Bayesian Model of Class Formation

  • Robert Oxoby

    (University of Calgary)

Beliefs are a key motivator of individual behavior. As such, an understanding of how individuals' beliefs develop is a prerequisite to understanding decision-making and behavior. While rational choice theory posits a Bayesian model framework for belief formation, sta- tus construction theories argue that beliefs are strongly in uenced by status typi cations. In this paper, we develop a Bayesian model of belief formation in which individuals use irrelevant information on others' observable type to bias their beliefs. This model is used to analyze a simple occupational choice setting, thereby shedding light on the micro-macro inter-relationship between observable type (e.g. race, gender) and social class.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Calgary in its series Working Papers with number 2009-07.

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Date of creation: 11 Jan 2009
Date of revision: 11 Jan 2009
Handle: RePEc:clg:wpaper:2009-07
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  1. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
  2. Piketty, Thomas, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-84, August.
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  4. Fershtman, C. & Weiss, Y., 1991. "Social Status , Culture and Economic Performance," Papers 32-91, Tel Aviv.
  5. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  6. Christopher Avery & Susan Athey & Peter Zemsky, 2000. "Mentoring and Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 765-786, September.
  7. Michael R. Pergamit & Jonathan R. Veum, 1999. "What is a promotion?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(4), pages 581-601, July.
  8. Ehud Kalai & Ehud Lehrer, 1990. "Rational Learning Leads to Nash Equilibrium," Discussion Papers 895, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Kim-Sau Chung, 2000. "Role Models and Arguments for Affirmative Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 640-648, June.
  10. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  11. Jordan, J. S., 1991. "Bayesian learning in normal form games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 60-81, February.
  12. Basu, Kaushik, 1989. "A Theory of Association: Social Status, Prices and Markets," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 653-71, October.
  13. Richard Startz & Lundberg, . "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 19-81, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  14. Cox, James C. & Shachat, Jason & Walker, Mark, 2001. "An Experiment to Evaluate Bayesian Learning of Nash Equilibrium Play," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 11-33, January.
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