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Identity conflict: A framework and empirical investigation

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

No 2019019, Working Papers from The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics

Abstract: We develop a theoretical framework to analyse the implications of individuals belonging to multiple groups and trying to maintain multiple identities. Using the term identity conflict to refer to any outcome where individuals face penalties for failure to satisfy the norms of all groups, we show that identity conflict arises in various settings where group norms differ, and also in settings where the actions required to satisfy all group norms coincide. In addition, we show that identity conflict may not materialise even if group norms differ. Exploiting data on subjective wellbeing in a nationally representative survey, we show that identity conflict is a real phenomenon in the context of national and religious identities. Our results suggest that the cost of identity conflict is large, and of similar magnitude to that of experiencing discrimination in the labour market. Moreover, we find that education, as opposed to religious affiliation, shapes the cost of identity conflict.

Keywords: Identity economics; identity conflict; subjective wellbeing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D7 Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 28 pages
Date: 2019-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap
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http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/economics/research/serps/articles/2019_019 First version, August 2019 (application/pdf)

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