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Racial Conflict and the Malignancy of Identity

  • Basu, Kaushik

    (Cornell U)

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.

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Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 05-02.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:05-02
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  1. Jorgen W Weibull, 2004. "Testing Game Theory," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000181, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Andreoni,J. & Samuelson,L., 2003. "Building rational cooperation," Working papers 4, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  3. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjostrom, 2001. "Arms Races and Negotiations," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 391749000000000005, www.najecon.org.
  4. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, August.
  5. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, August.
  6. Una Okonkwo Osili & Anna Paulson, 2004. "Institutional quality and financial market development: evidence from international migrants in the U.S," Working Paper Series WP-04-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. 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.
  8. David Austen-Smith & Roland G. Fryer, 2003. "The Economics of 'Acting White'," NBER Working Papers 9904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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