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The Optimal Size for a Minority

Author

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  • Rapoport, Hillel

    () (Paris School of Economics)

  • Weiss, Avi

    () (Bar-Ilan University)

Abstract

We investigate a setting in which members of a population, bifurcated into a majority and a minority, transact with randomly matched partners. All members are uniformly altruistic, and each transaction can be carried out cooperatively or through a market mechanism, with cooperative transactions saving on transaction costs. Externalities are introduced, whereby cooperation by members of one group and the relative size of that group, affect the incentives to cooperate by members of the other group. Under these conditions, we determine the optimal size of the minority from the minority’s perspective, and consider the conditions under which such a size might be attained. The model provides insights on social conflicts both between groups and within groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Rapoport, Hillel & Weiss, Avi, 2001. "The Optimal Size for a Minority," IZA Discussion Papers 284, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp284
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Epstein, Gil S & Gang, Ira, 2004. "Ethnic Networks and International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 4616, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Amin, Mohammad & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2005. "Does temporary migration have to be permanent?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3582, The World Bank.
    3. Epstein, Gil S. & Mealem, Yosef, 2010. "Interactions between Local and Migrant Workers at the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 5051, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Gil S. Epstein & Ira N Gang, 2006. "Migrants, Ethnicity and Strategic Assimilation," Departmental Working Papers 200630, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    5. John Smith, 2012. "Reputation, Social Identity and Social Conflict," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(4), pages 677-709, August.
    6. Rapoport, Hillel & Weiss, Avi, 2002. "In-Group Cooperation in a Hostile Environment: An Economic Perspective on Some Aspects of Jewish Life in (Pre-Modern) Diaspora," IZA Discussion Papers 483, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Mark Gradstein & Maurice Schiff, 2006. "The political economy of social exclusion, with implications for immigration policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 19(2), pages 327-344, June.
    8. Epstein, Gil S. & Gang, Ira N., 2008. "Ethnicity, Assimilation and Harassment in the Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 3591, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Michaeli, Moti, 2015. "Group Formation, In-group Bias and the Cost of Cheating," Economics Working Papers MWP2015/04, European University Institute.
    10. Sawchuk, Lawrence A. & Tripp, Lianne & Melnychenko, Ulianna, 2013. "The Jewish Advantage and Household Security: Life Expectancy among 19th Century Sephardim of Gibraltar," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 360-370.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social conflicts; minorities; ethnic groups; religious groups; Altruism; relative group size;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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