IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Do Oppositional Identities Reduce Employment for Ethnic Minorities?

  • Battu, Harminder


    (University of Aberdeen)

  • Mwale, McDonald


    (University of Aberdeen)

  • Zenou, Yves


    (Stockholm University)

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 found 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 considerable heterogeneity in the ethnic population of Britain in terms of ethnic preferences. One group, namely the African-Asians, stand out in having preferences that accord with the notion of them being status seekers. Such preferences are closely tied to a range of assimilation variables and those non-whites who have preferences that accord with being a conformist do experience an employment penalty.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 721.

in new window

Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Oppositional identities and the labor market' in: Journal of Population Economics, 2007, 20 (3), 643-667
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp721
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Thomas, Jonathan M., 1998. "Ethnic Variation in Commuting Propensity and Unemployment Spells: Some U.K. Evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 385-400, May.
  2. Friedberg, Rachel M, 2000. "You Can't Take It with You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 221-51, April.
  3. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R. & Scafidi, Benjamin, 2002. "Black Self-Segregation as a Cause of Housing Segregation: Evidence from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 366-390, March.
  4. Steven Raphael & Michael A. Stoll, 2000. "Can Boosting Minority Car-Ownership Rates Narrow Inter-Racial Employment Gaps," JCPR Working Papers 200, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  5. Dustmann, Christian & Fabbri, Francesca, 2000. "Language Proficiency and Labour Market Performance of Immigrants in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 156, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. repec:oup:restud:v:68:y:2001:i:2:p:261-95 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Cornell, Bradford & Welch, Ivo, 1996. "Culture, Information, and Screening Discrimination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 542-71, June.
  8. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Job Matching, Social Network and Word-of-Mouth Communication," IZA Discussion Papers 771, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
  10. repec:oup:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:1:p:329-357 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
  12. McManus, Walter & Gould, William & Welch, Finis, 1983. "Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-30, April.
  13. Selod, Harris & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Does City Structure Affect the Labor Market Outcomes of Black Workers?," IZA Discussion Papers 928, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Mortensen, Dale T. & Vishwanath, Tara, 1994. "Personal contacts and earnings : It is who you know!," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 187-201, March.
  15. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  16. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  17. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2000. "Black Residential Centralization and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 110-134, July.
  18. Hughes, Gordon & McCormick, Barry & McCormick, Barry, 1987. "Housing markets, unemployment and labour market flexibility in the UK," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 615-641, April.
  19. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
  20. Smith, Richard J & Blundell, Richard W, 1986. "An Exogeneity Test for a Simultaneous Equation Tobit Model with an Application to Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 679-85, May.
  21. Leslie, Derek & Drinkwater, Stephen, 1999. "Staying on in Full-Time Education: Reasons for Higher Participation Rates among Ethnic Minority Males and Females," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(261), pages 63-77, February.
  22. Blackaby, David H, et al, 1997. "A Picture of Male and Female Unemployment among Britain's Ethnic Minorities," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 44(2), pages 182-97, May.
  23. repec:oup:qjecon:v:101:y:1986:i:2:p:363-82 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Xin Meng & Robert G. Gregory, 2005. "Intermarriage and the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 135-176, January.
  25. Glenn C. Loury, 2000. "Social Exclusion and Ethnic Groups: The Challenge to Economics," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 106, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  26. repec:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:715-753 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Social Networks and Labor-Market Outcomes: Toward an Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1407-18, December.
  28. Calvo-Armengol, Antoni, 2004. "Job contact networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 191-206, March.
  29. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:3:p:827-72 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Blackaby, David, et al, 1999. "Unemployment among Britain's Ethnic Minorities," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 67(1), pages 1-20, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp721. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.