June 18, 2014

Cydcor Reviews ‘Identity Economics’

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Here is Cydcor’s review of Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages and Well-Being by George Akerlof.

About Identity Economics: Identity Economics bridges the gap in the social sciences. It brings identity and norms to economics. People’s notions of what is proper and what is forbidden, and for whom, are fundamental to how they work and how they learn, spend and save. People’s identity—their conception of who they are, and of who they choose to be—may be the most important factor affecting their economic lives. And the limits placed by society on people’s identity can also be critical determinants of their economic well-being. This is important for people to understand.

Cydcor recommends this book to future leaders because: Identity Economics provides an important and compelling new way to understand human behavior, revealing how our identities—and not just economic incentives—influence our decisions.

It is admirably short and not difficult to read, and it makes a compelling case that and individual’s identity completely shapes their decisions about schooling and investments. The book offers better ways of understanding the consequences of public polities and business practices.

The book provides a new language and is a useful apparatus that takes measure of ‘real people in real situations.’

Our favorite part: The authors examine the popular topics of gender wage inequality and occupational segregation and put them into the perspective of identity economics. Women are significantly underrepresented in engineering and certain other science fields, while there are low percentages of men working as secretaries, nurses, or elementary school teachers.

There are plenty of examples the book discusses, as well exploring the best ways to analyze a situation using theory from identity economics. If the topic of identity economics is one that holds interest for you, we certainly recommend giving this a quick read.

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