Discussion paper // Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 1399
This paper formalizes a widely discussed peer effect entitled 'acting white'. 'Acting White' is modeled as a two audience signaling quandary: signals that induce highe wages can be signals that induce peer group rejection. Without peer effects, the equilibrium involve all ability types choosing different lecels of education, 'Acting White' alters the equilibrium dramatically: the (posssibly empty) set of lowest ability individuals and the set of highest ability individuals continue to reveal their type through investments in education; ability types in the middle interval pool on a common education level. Only those in the lower intervals are accepted by the group. The model's predictions fit many stylized facts in the anthropology and sociology literatures regarding social interactions among minority group members.