Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 643–667 | Cite as

Oppositional identities and the labor market

Original Paper


We develop a model in which nonwhite individuals are defined with respect to their social environment (family, friends, and neighbors) and their attachments to their culture of origin (religion or 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 because some individuals may identify with the dominant culture and others may reject that culture, even if it implies adverse labor market outcomes.


Ethnic minorities Identity Social networks White’s norm Multiple equilibria 

JEL Classification

A14 J15 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of AberdeenOld AberdeenUK
  2. 2.Health Economics Research Unit (HERU), Medical SchoolUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK
  3. 3.Research Institute of Industrial EconomicsStockholmSweden

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