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Ethnic Solidarity and the Individual Determinants of Ethnic Identification

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Listed:
  • Thomas Bossuroy

    () (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town)

Abstract

This paper examines the individual determinants of ethnic identification using large sample surveys (about 30,000 respondents) representative of seven capitals of West-African countries. A small model that relates ethnic identification to an investment in ethnic capital suggests that individuals initially deprived of social or human capital resort to ethnicity to get socially inserted, and do even more so if their ethnic group itself is well inserted. Empirical results are consistent with this simple theory. First, education lowers ethnic salience. Second, ethnic identification is higher for uneducated unemployed or informal workers who seek a new or better job, and is further raised by the share of the individual’s ethnic group integrated on the job market. Third, ethnic identification is higher among migrants, and raised by the share of the migrant’s ethnic group that is employed. Group solidarity makes ethnic identity more salient for individuals deprived of other means for upward mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Bossuroy, 2011. "Ethnic Solidarity and the Individual Determinants of Ethnic Identification," SALDRU Working Papers 69, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  • Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:69
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    File URL: http://opensaldru.uct.ac.za/bitstream/handle/11090/56/2011_69.pdf?sequence=1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-548, June.
    2. Bates, Robert H., "undated". "Ethnicity and Modernization in Contemporary Africa," Working Papers 16, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    3. DeanS. Karlan, 2007. "Social connections and group banking," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages 52-84, February.
    4. Thomas Bossuroy & Denis Cogneau, 2008. "Social Mobility and Colonial Legacy in Five African Countries," Working Papers DT/2008/10, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    5. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4314 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Gradin, 2015. "Poverty and Ethnicity among Black South Africans," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 27(5), pages 921-942, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ethnicity; Identity; Social capital; Networks; Africa.;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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