September 24, 2021

Ethnic Choices

Psychological Perspective

Exercise

Social Identity Theory

An application

Exercise

Exercise

On the upcoming essay assignment, bonus points are available.

  • But there is a catch
  • You have to decide how these points are allocated

Exercise

Two groups in the class:

  • Left siders
  • Right siders

You need to decide how to allocate bonus points to a two people: (other than yourself)

  • one person randomly chosen from the left side
  • one person randomly chosen from the right side

Exercise:

Left Side

Right Side

Exercise:

Maximizing between-group difference:

In-group Out-group
3 1
4 3
5 5
6 7
7 9

bluer is more

Exercise:

Maximizing in-group profit:

In-group Out-group
3 1
4 3
5 5
6 7
7 9

bluer is more

Just an exercise

Sorry, No actual bonus points!

Social Identity Theory

Minimal Group Experiments:

  • Groups randomly assigned
  • Never meet in person
  • Anonymous games allocating money

How do people behave?

  • discriminate against out-group
  • maximize inter-group difference, not in-group profit

Social Identity Theory

From these results, Tajfel and others build out a theory:

Assumptions

  1. people desire positive self-esteem
  2. social groups/categories have positive/negative connotations that reflect a person’s social identity
  3. group status is based on favorable/unfavorable comparison with other groups

Social Identity Theory

Implications

  1. people want to increase or maintain positive social identity
  2. positive social identity based on positive comparison between in-group and relevant out-group
  3. Individuals will leave group, change their group, alter the comparison to make identity more positive

Social Identity Theory

Strategies of improving status:

  1. mobility (unavailable? in race/ethnicity)

  2. new dimension of comparison (what is the metric?)

  3. use of different evaluative rules (how do we interpret?)

  4. change comparison-group

  5. direct competition

An application:

Football Wins

Football Wins

Football victories:

  • Does a positive change in status of national identity induce people to emphasize that identity?
  • SIT suggests that this should occur to increase self esteem

Football Wins

Football Wins

Afrobarometer: multi-wave survey, same questions, dozens of countries

Football Wins

Football Wins

Compare:

  • change in ethnic vs. national identification of people in countries whose team wins from before to after the game

vs.

  • change in ethnic vs. national identification of people in countries whose team loses from before to after the game

69 official matches played between 2002 and 2015 with survey responses in window of 15 days before or after each match. Of these, 31 were wins by the respondent’s national team, 29 were losses, and 9 were draws

Football Wins

Football Wins

Consistent with SIT:

  • Football victories induce greater national vs ethnic identificaiton
  • Effects are stronger when match is against a rival (comparison group more relevant)
  • Effects are stronger when national team is more ethnically diverse (team identity must be seen as national, not ethnic)

Some questions about SIT:

Both experimental and real world evidence:

As a theory, depends on cultural context:

  • Which are “relevant” groups for comparison?
  • What dimensions are groups compared on?
  • What value-rules do we use to assign status?
  • What kinds of comparisons are legitimate?