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Identity conflict: A framework and empirical investigation

Jolian McHardy () and Anita Ratcliffe ()
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Anita Ratcliffe: Department of Economics, University of Sheffield

No 2017006, Working Papers from The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics

Abstract: We develop a framework to explore the circumstances under which utility is reduced as individuals try to maintain multiple identities and satisfy the norms of multiple social groups. We label this outcome identity conflict. We show that while identity conflict is always possible, it is not inevitable, even where group norms differ, but also that conflict may arise even where group norms are co-located. Using data on subjective wellbeing, we test the basic features of our framework in the context of national and religious identities. Our results indicate that conflicting identities reduce subjective wellbeing, which is consistent with facing penalties for failure to conform to group norms. While the cost of identity conflict varies little by faith groups, formal education is effective in lowering the cost of identity conflict.

Keywords: identity economics; identity conflict; subjective wellbeing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I31 J15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap
Date: 2017-02
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http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/economics/research/serps/articles/2017_006 First version, February 2017 (application/pdf)

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