American Economic Review: Vol. 100 No. 4 (September 2010)


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Social Identity and Preferences

Article Citation

Benjamin, Daniel J., James J. Choi, and A. Joshua Strickland. 2010. "Social Identity and Preferences." American Economic Review, 100(4): 1913-28.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.4.1913


Social identities prescribe behaviors for people. We identify the marginal behavioral effect of these norms on discount rates and risk aversion by measuring how laboratory subjects' choices change when an aspect of social identity is made salient. When we make ethnic identity salient to Asian-American subjects, they make more patient choices. When we make racial identity salient to black subjects, non-immigrant blacks (but not immigrant blacks) make more patient choices. Making gender identity salient has no effect on intertemporal or risk choices. (JEL D81, J15, J16, Z13 )

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Benjamin, Daniel J. (Cornell U)
Choi, James J. (Yale U)
Strickland, A. Joshua (Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Chicago, IL)

JEL Classifications

D81: Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
J15: Economics of Minorities and Races; Non-labor Discrimination
J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
Z13: Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification

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