November 2005

IZA DP No. 1852: Oppositional Identities and the Labor Market

published in: Journal of Population Economics, 2007, 20 (3), 643 - 667

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 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 labor market outcomes.