Sunday 22 May 2011

Identity Economics

Finished May 20
Identity Economics by George A. Akerlof and Rachel E. Kranton, narrated by Sean Pratt
Grabbed this book from the new book shelf at work as I needed something to listen to on my commute.
It was interesting, but I am glad I have a degree in economics, as some of the terminology was definitely subject specific. It talked about a relatively new aspect of economics that uses individual or group identity perception to predict behaviour. Some types of identity are generally fixed (race, gender), while others are temporary and may change over time. Standard economics says that people would choose economic behaviours that would be of most benefit to them, but that doesn't always happen. Identity economics shows that how a person identifies themselves influences their behaviour (one example: they want to do what the rest of their peer group is doing so they fit in). The authors use examples from work, school, and home to show different ways this happens. They also show examples of both fixed identity and temporary identity and how behaviours can change over time.
It was quite interesting and can explain a lot of things that don't seem to make sense otherwise (like election results ;->) It made me think about things in a different way.

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