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|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Christopher B. Barrett (ed.), The Social Economics of Poverty: On Identities, Groups, Communities and Networks, Routledge, 2005, pp. 12-55|
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|Order Information:|| Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA|
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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.
- Jackson, Matthew O. & Fryer Jr., Roland G., 2002.
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1144, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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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.
- 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.
- George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
- Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Krishna, Vijay, 1985. "Finitely Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 905-22, July.
- George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
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