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Reputation, social identity and social conflict

  • Smith, John

We interpret the social identity literature and examine its economic implications. We model a population of agents from two exogenous and well defined social groups. Agents are randomly matched to play a reduced form bargaining game. We show that this struggle for resources drives a conflict through the rational destruction of surplus. We assume that the population contains both unbiased and biased players. Biased players aggressively discriminate against members of the other social group. The existence and specification of the biased player is motivated by the social identity literature. For unbiased players, group membership has no payoff relevant consequences. We show that the unbiased players can contribute to the conflict by aggressively discriminating and that this behavior is consistent with existing empirical evidence.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 18082.

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Date of creation: 22 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:18082
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  1. Götte, Lorenz & Huffman, David B. & Meier, Stephan, 2006. "The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups," IZA Discussion Papers 2020, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John B. Davis, 2005. "Social Identity Strategies in Recent Economics," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-078/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Rohner, Dominic, 2011. "Reputation, group structure and social tensions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 188-199, November.
  5. Güth, Werner & Levati, M. Vittoria & Ploner, Matteo, 2008. "Social identity and trust--An experimental investigation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1293-1308, August.
  6. Lindqvist, Erik, 2008. "Identity and Redistribution," Working Paper Series 735, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  7. Kaushik Basu, 2005. "Racial conflict and the malignancy of identity," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 221-241, December.
  8. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  9. Rapoport, Hillel & Weiss, Avi, 2003. "The optimal size for a minority," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 27-45, September.
  10. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "Interpreting ethnic fragmentation effects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 271-276, April.
  11. Holger Strulik, 2008. "Social composition, social conflict and economic development," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 1145-1170, 07.
  12. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2008. "Why are ethnically divided countries poor?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-18, March.
  13. repec:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:715-753 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
  15. Dan Silverman, 2004. "Street Crime And Street Culture," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 761-786, 08.
  16. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:4:p:1203-50 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. repec:oup:qjecon:v:110:y:1995:i:3:p:681-712 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Davis, John B., 2005. "Lawson on Veblen on Social Ontology," Working Papers and Research 2015-03, Marquette University, Center for Global and Economic Studies and Department of Economics.
  19. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:4:p:1243-1284 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Keisuke Nakao, 2009. "Creation of Social Order in Ethnic Conflict," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 21(3), pages 365-394, July.
  21. Gary Charness & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2007. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1340-1352, September.
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