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Racial Conflict and the Malignancy of Identity

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  • Basu, Kaushik

    (Cornell U)

Abstract

This paper demonstrates how our sense of identity can emerge out of mere markers of social distinction that may have no innate significance, but, nevertheless, spread to various aspects of our lives and be the root of conflict. The basis of such conflicts could arise from the use of race to form conditional judgments about people's behavior. Moreover, there are contexts where racial conflict is inevitable even though, if individuals had common knowledge of one another's preferences, there would be no conflict. It is argued that this kind of conflict, where many individuals have no innate aggressive preference, is widespread and understanding the process that gives rise to such conflict is the key to crafting effective policy that contains it.

Suggested Citation

  • Basu, Kaushik, 2005. "Racial Conflict and the Malignancy of Identity," Working Papers 05-02, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:05-02
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    File URL: https://cae.economics.cornell.edu/05-02.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjöström, 2004. "Arms Races and Negotiations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 351-369.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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