Working Paper Series
Do Oppositional Identities Reduce Employment for Ethnic Minorities?
(), McDonald Mwale and Yves Zenou
Abstract: We develop a model in which non-white individuals are
defined with respect to their social environment (family, friends,
neighbors) 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 they are linked to their culture of
origin, non-whites choose to adopt "oppositional" identities since some
individuals may identify with the dominant culture (status seekers) and
others may reject that culture (conformists), even if it implies adverse
labor market outcomes. We then test this model using a unique data set that
contains extensive information on various issues surrounding ethnic
identity and preferences in Britain. We find that the social environment of
individuals has a strong influence on their identity choice. We also find
that those non-whites who have preferences that accord with being a
conformist do experience an employment penalty.
Keywords: Ethnic Minorities; Identity; Social Networks; White's Norm; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: J15; (follow links to similar papers)
42 pages, November 27, 2003
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