Bend it Like Beckham: Ethnic Identity and Integration

45 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2010

See all articles by Alberto Bisin

Alberto Bisin

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics; New York University (NYU) - Center for Experimental Social Science (CESS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Eleonora Patacchini

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Thierry Verdier

Paris School of Economics (PSE); Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Yves Zenou

Monash University - Department of Economics; Stockholm University; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Abstract

We propose a theoretical framework to study the determinants of ethnic and religious identity along two distinct motivational processes which have been proposed in the social sciences: cultural conformity and cultural distinction. Under cultural conformity, ethnic identity is reduced by neighborhood integration, which weakens group loyalties and prejudices. On the contrary, under cultural distinction, ethnic minorities are more motivated in retaining their own distinctive cultural heritage the more integrated are the neighborhoods where they reside and work. Data on ethnic preferences and attitudes provided by the Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities in the UK enables us to test the relative significance of these two identity processes. We find evidence consistent with intense ethnic and religious identity mostly formed as a cultural distinction mechanism. Consistently, we document that ethnic identities are more intense in mixed than in segregated neighborhoods.

Keywords: ethnicity, identity, intermarriage, cultural transmission

JEL Classification: A14, J15

Suggested Citation

Bisin, Alberto and Patacchini, Eleonora and Verdier, Thierry and Zenou, Yves, Bend it Like Beckham: Ethnic Identity and Integration. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5234, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1693331

Alberto Bisin (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics

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Eleonora Patacchini

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Thierry Verdier

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

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Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

Yves Zenou

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Australia

Stockholm University ( email )

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Sweden

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI) ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

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