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Nationalism, cognitive ability, and interpersonal relations

Giacomo Corneo

No 2010/5, Discussion Papers from Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics

Abstract: Interpersonal relations are shaped by the judgements associated with the social categories that individuals perceive in their social contacts. I develop a model of how those judgments form based on a theory of symbolic values. The model depicts the interaction between two values, one associated with an inherited ethnic trait (nationality) and one with an endogenous achievement trait (income). Individuals with lower cognitive ability are predicted to invest more value on nationalism and to have hostile relations with immigrants. Multiple equilibria are possible and better schooling may eliminate equilibria with xenophobia. Econometric findings based on data from three large surveys corroborate the predictions derived from the theoretical model.

Keywords: nationalism; xenophobia; interpersonal relations; value systems (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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