Research

Job Market Paper

On the Origin and Persistence of Identity-Driven Choice Behavior

This paper provides a novel explanation for identity-driven choice behavior, that does not rely on built-in differences in preferences, discrimination or social pressures, but works through an optimal bias in noisy beliefs. Agents observe social identity cues that stem from the prevalence of their subgroup among the successful individuals in the social context, and find it rational to let their choices be driven by these social identity cues, even when these cues do not directly affect utility. The influence on choice differs across types, but is not driven by ability differences between subgroups. I show the existence of a stable population equilibrium in which the task allocation and the use of social identity cues differ between a priori identical subgroups.

Keywords: Social Identity, Subjective Beliefs, Decision Making, Diversity

Working Papers

Intersectionality, Choice Behavior and Diversity

This paper analyzes the effect of an informationally irrelevant social context on the subjective belief formation of agents that have multiple social identities, without assuming that these identities directly affect utility. Agents observe social identity cues for each of their social identities that stem from the prevalence of their subgroup among the successful individuals in the social context. I analyze how agents let these cues drive their choice behavior under two extreme assumptions; agents having complete freedom to choose on which cues they focus, and agents having no freedom to direct their focus. I show that more freedom increases welfare and decreases the asymmetry that can exist in equilibrium across a priori identical social groups in their representation among the successful individuals. The results shed light on how stigmatization and a focus on intersectionality in informational policies can have adverse effects on the degree of diversity in a society and the welfare of individual agents. 

Keywords: Social Identity, Subjective Beliefs, Decision Making, Diversity

Work In progress

Socially Biased Signals for Success

Social Context, Subjective Beliefs and Choice Behavior: An Experiment

Publications

De nieuwe DNB conjunctuur indicator voorspelt afvlakking groei in 2019 (The New Dutch Central Bank Business Cycle Indicator Predicts decrease in Economic Growth for 2019) with Bas Butler and Maikel Volkerink, Economisch Statistisch Bulletin, Feb 28 (2019)

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