Discussion paper

DP5662 'Bend It Like Beckham': Identity, Socialization and Assimilation

We first develop a model of identity formation resulting from the interaction of cultural transmission and socialization inside the family, peer effects and social interactions, and identity choice. We then put the model to data using the UK Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities. We show that the main determinants of ethnic identity include past racial harassment experiences, language spoken at home and with friends, quality of housing, and structure of the family. Most importantly, we find that, consistently with our theoretical analysis, identity and socialization to an ethnic minority are, other things equal, more intense in mixed neighbourhood than in segregated neighbourhoods. We argue that this last result has important and up-to-now unnoticed implications for integration and assimilation policies.


Verdier, T, Y Zenou, A Bisin and E Patacchini (2006), ‘DP5662 'Bend It Like Beckham': Identity, Socialization and Assimilation‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 5662. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp5662