Social Identity and Preferences
41 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2008
Date Written: April 2008
We provide evidence that time and risk preference norms tied to social identities help shape observed U.S. demographic patterns in economic outcomes. We identify the marginal effect of norms by measuring how laboratory subjects' choices change when an aspect of social identity is made salient. We find that when ethnic identity is salient to Asian-American subjects, they make more patient choices. When we make race salient to black subjects, non-immigrant blacks (but not immigrant blacks) make more risk-averse choices. Making gender identity salient causes choices to conform to gender norms the subject believes are relatively more common.
Keywords: race, ethnicity, gender, identity, norm, stereotype, risk aversion, time preference
JEL Classification: C19, J15, J16, Z10
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