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Do Oppositional Identities Reduce Employment for Ethnic Minorities?

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  • Battu, Harminder

    (University of Aberdeen)

  • Mwale, McDonald

    (University of Aberdeen)

  • Zenou, Yves

    (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

Abstract

We develop a model in which non-white individuals are defined with respect to their social environment (family, friends, neighbors) and their attachments to their culture of origin (religion, language), and in which jobs are mainly found through social networks. We find that, depending on how strong they are linked to their culture of origin, non-whites choose to adopt "oppositional" identities since some individuals may identify with the dominant culture (status seekers) and others may reject that culture (conformists), even if it implies adverse labor market outcomes. We then test this model using a unique data set that contains extensive information on various issues surrounding ethnic identity and preferences in Britain. We find that the social environment of individuals has a strong influence on their identity choice. We also find that those non-whites who have preferences that accord with being a conformist do experience an employment penalty.

Suggested Citation

  • Battu, Harminder & Mwale, McDonald & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Do Oppositional Identities Reduce Employment for Ethnic Minorities?," Working Paper Series 603, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0603
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    Cited by:

    1. Smith, Tony E. & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Spatial mismatch, search effort, and urban spatial structure," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 129-156, July.
    2. Delia Furtado, 2012. "Human Capital And Interethnic Marriage Decisions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 82-93, January.
    3. Nekby, Lena & Rödin, Magnus, 2007. "Acculturation Identity and Labor Market Outcomes," Research Papers in Economics 2007:7, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    4. Battu, Harminder & Seaman, Paul & Zenou, Yves, 2011. "Job contact networks and the ethnic minorities," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 48-56, January.
    5. Martin Kahanec & Mariapia Mendola, 2009. "Social determinants of labor market status of ethnic minorities in Britain," Research in Labor Economics, in: Amelie F. Constant & Konstantinos Tatsiramos & Klaus F. Zimmermann (ed.), Ethnicity and Labor Market Outcomes, volume 29, pages 167-195, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    6. Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2006. "City Structure, Job Search and Labour Discrimination: Theory and Policy Implications," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 1057-1087, October.
    7. Clark, Ken & Drinkwater, Stephen, 2007. "Segregation preferences and labour market outcomes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 278-283, February.
    8. Nekby, Lena & Rödin, Magnus, 2010. "Acculturation identity and employment among second and middle generation immigrants," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 35-50, February.
    9. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2008. "Identity and racial harassment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 529-557, June.
    10. Kohler, Pierre, 2012. "Three essays on the economic and cultural integration of migrants in Switzerland: putting into perspective the influence of economic discrimination and of host society culture," MPRA Paper 38129, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Ken Clark & Stephen Drinkwater, 2009. "Dynamics and diversity: ethnic employment differences in England and Wales, 1991–2001," Research in Labor Economics, in: Amelie F. Constant & Konstantinos Tatsiramos & Klaus F. Zimmermann (ed.), Ethnicity and Labor Market Outcomes, volume 29, pages 299-333, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    12. Pierre Kohler, 2012. "Economic Discrimination and Cultural Differences as Barriers to Migrant Integration: Is Reverse Causality Symmetric?," IHEID Working Papers 07-2012, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    13. Pierre Kohler, 2012. "Economic Discrimination and Cultural Differences as Barriers to Migrant Integration: Is Reverse Causality Symmetric?," IHEID Working Papers 07-2012, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ethnic Minorities; Identity; Social Networks; White's Norm;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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