Working paper 08/191 - abstract

The Costs and Benefits of "Strangers": Why mixed communities are better (PDF, 525kB)

Paul A. Grout, Sebastien Mitraille and Silvia Sonderegger

Much of the literature on diversity assumes that individuals have an exogenous "taste for discrimination". In contrast with this approach, we build a model where preferences over the nature of one's community are derived indirectly, and arise because the composition of the community determines the behavior of its members. This allows us to gain a far deeper understanding of the forces that underpin the desirability of diversity or homogeneity within communities. Our main contribution is to show that there are always counteracting forces (heterogeneity involves both costs and benefits), and that, although people prefer to live in communities where their type is majoritarian, they always benefit from having some heterogeneity in the composition of their community.

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