DP5351 Oppositional Identities and the Labour Market

Author(s): Harminder Battu, MacDonald Mwale, Yves Zenou
Publication Date: November 2005
Keyword(s): ethnic minorities, identity, multiple equilibria, social networks, white's norm
JEL(s): A14, J15
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5351

We develop a model in which non-white individuals are defined with respect to their social environment (family, friends, neighbours) 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 peer pressures are, nonwhites choose to adopt “oppositional” identities since some individuals may identify with the dominant culture and others may reject that culture, even if it implies adverse labour market outcomes.