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Bend It Like Beckham: Ethnic Identity and Integration

Listed author(s):
  • Alberto Bisin

    ()

    (New York University, Department of Economics; and NBER)

  • Eleonora Patacchini

    ()

    (Universita' di Roma "La Sapienza," CEPR, and IZA)

  • Thierry Verdier

    ()

    (Paris School of Economics and CEPR)

  • Yves Zenou

    ()

    (Stockholm University, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, CEPR, and CREAM)

We propose a theoretical framework to study the determinants of ethnic and religious identity along two distinct motivational processes which have been proposed in the social sciences: cultural conformity and cultural distinction. Under cultural conformity, ethnic identity is reduced by neighborhood integration, which weakens group loyalties and prejudices. On the contrary, under cultural distinction, ethnic minorities are more motivated in retaining their own distinctive cultural heritage the more integrated are the neighborhoods where they reside and work. Data on ethnic preferences and attitudes provided by the Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities in the UK enables us to test the relative significance of these two identity processes. We find evidence consistent with intense ethnic and religious identity mostly formed as a cultural distinction mechanism. Consistently, we document that ethnic identities are more intense in mixed than in segregated neighborhoods.

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Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 1025.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1025
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