Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/111044
Authors: 
Bernard, Mark
Hett, Florian
Mechtel, Mario
Year of Publication: 
2015
Series/Report no.: 
IAAEU Discussion Paper Series in Economics 05/2015
Abstract: 
We model individual identification choice as a strategic group formation problem. When choosing a social group to identify with, individuals appreciate high social status and a group stereotype to which they have a small social distance. A group's social status and stereotype are shaped by the (exogenous) individual attributes of its members and hence endogenous to individuals' choices. Unless disutility from social distance is strong enough, this creates a strategic tension as individuals with attributes that contribute little to group status would like to join high-status groups, thereby diluting the latters' status and changing stereotypes. Such social free-riding motivates the use of soft exclusion technologies in high-status groups, which provides a unifying rationale for phenomena such as hazing rituals, charitable activities or status symbols that is not taste-based or follows a standard signaling mechanism.
Subjects: 
social identity
social status
social distance
categorization
group formation
JEL: 
Z13
D01
D03
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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