Economics Working Papers

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This chapter introduces the economics and identity literature, and discusses the relationship between social identity and personal identity. It distinguishes categorical and relational types of social identities, and argues that the former are more readily associated with instrumentally rational behavior, while the latter, which involve close contact with others in roles and social positions, are more readily associated with behavior in which individuals unilaterally reciprocate the actions of others – what Bruni terms unilateral altruism, which involves a non-instrumental or deontological type of motivation. The chapter also distinguishes two views of personal identity as relational in nature, Bachrach's game-theoretic approach and one based on collective intentionality theory, and concludes by arguing that the Homo economicus view of personal identity is circular.


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