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:||Sep 2004|
|Publication status:||Published in Christopher B. Barrett (ed.), The Social Economics of Poverty: On Identities, Groups, Communities and Networks, Routledge, 2005, pp. 12-55|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA|
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.yale.edu/
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|Order Information:|| Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA|
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- Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Matthew O. Jackson, 2003.
"Categorical Cognition: A Psychological Model of Categories and Identification in Decision Making,"
NBER Working Papers
9579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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- 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.
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- Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-877, October.
- George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
- 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.
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