Discussion paper

DP18084 White, Male, and Angry: A Reputation-based Rationale

From the bottom to the top of society, many white men are angry. This note provides a reputational-based rationale for this anger. Individuals care about their social status (elite vs non-elite) and their reputation (others' perception of their ability). Citizens are also uncertain about of how one becomes a member of the elite. When new information reveal that the elite is biased in favor of white men, the reputation of all white men decreases causing a payoff loss. In contrast, policies meant to reduce inequalities in the access to the elite can be supported by some white men and opposed by some individuals from the other groups. I briefly discuss how to interpret reactions to recent events (such as #Metoo and Black Lives Matter) in light of these results.


Wolton, S (2023), ‘DP18084 White, Male, and Angry: A Reputation-based Rationale‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 18084. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp18084