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Melvin Stephens

Social Identity and Preferences

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Download PDF versionBenjamin, Daniel J., James J. Choi, and A. Joshua Strickland. 2007. "Social Identity and Preferences." PSC Research Report No. 07-621. April 2007.

In two laboratory experiments, we test whether social identities can affect time and risk preferences. We find that when we make ethnic identity salient to Asian-American subjects, they make more patient choices. When we make race salient to white and black subjects, white subjects make more patient and less risk-averse choices, and non-immigrant blacks make more risk-averse choices. Our ethnic and racial identity results are consistent with U.S. demographic patterns in economic outcomes. Making gender identity salient causes risk aversion to conform to the gender risk aversion stereotype the subject believes is relatively more common. Our findings provide support for the hypothesis that cultural differences help explain differences in economic outcomes.

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