Oppositional identities and the labor market

Harminder Battu, McDonald Mwale, Yves Zenou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


We develop a model in which nonwhite individuals are defined with respect to their social environment (family, friends, and neighbors) and their attachments to their culture of origin (religion or language), and in which jobs are mainly found through social networks. We find that depending on how strong peer pressures are, nonwhites choose to adopt "oppositional" identities because some individuals may identify with the dominant culture and others may reject that culture, even if it implies adverse labor market outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-667
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Population Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethnic minorities
  • Identity
  • Multiple equilibria
  • Social networks
  • White's norm

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