Social Diversity and Bridging Identity

García-Alonso, M.D. and Wahhaj, Z., 2018. Social diversity and bridging identity (No. 1802). School of Economics Discussion Papers, 2020

49 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2020

See all articles by María D. C. García‐Alonso

María D. C. García‐Alonso

University of Kent, Canterbury

Zaki Wahhaj

University of Kent - Department of Economics; University of Namur; University of Kent - School of Economics

Date Written: July 08, 2020

Abstract

We investigate within a model of cultural transmission how policies or shocks that affect social diversity within a population affect social cohesion and segregation. We develop the concept of `bridging identity', an individual trait that:

(i) positively affects utility in culturally diverse social groups but is immaterial in homogeneous groups;

(ii) is fostered in those born in culturally diverse social groups but not in those born in homogeneous groups.

We show that medium levels of immigration lead to higher bridging identity in the population; and, for a given immigration target, social segregation is decreasing in the time allowed for achieving this target. If the level and pace of immigration are attuned to existing levels of bridging identity, it is possible to sustain, for the long run, social groups that are culturally diverse. This contrasts with Schelling's models of residential segregation that typically lead to increasing segregation over time.

Keywords: Identity, Culture, Immigration, Tolerance

JEL Classification: D10, J13, J15, A14, Z1

Suggested Citation

Garcia-Alonso, Maria Carmen and Wahhaj, Zaki, Social Diversity and Bridging Identity (July 08, 2020). García-Alonso, M.D. and Wahhaj, Z., 2018. Social diversity and bridging identity (No. 1802). School of Economics Discussion Papers, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3658130 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3658130

Maria Carmen Garcia-Alonso

University of Kent, Canterbury ( email )

Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NZ
United Kingdom

Zaki Wahhaj (Contact Author)

University of Kent - Department of Economics ( email )

Keynes College
Kent, CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

University of Namur ( email )

8 Rempart de la Vierge
Namur, 5000
Belgium

University of Kent - School of Economics ( email )

CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

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