Dean Rohrer

Economía de la identidad

BERKELEY y DURHAM – Una gran fortaleza de la economía es su capacidad para examinar cómo se toman las decisiones desde el punto de vista de quienes las toman. Por ejemplo, la economía puede explicar de esta manera por qué los consumidores compran lo que compran. También ofrece una perspectiva sobre por qué los empleados trabajan para algunos empleadores y no otros, por qué trabajan tanto como trabajan y, de hecho, por qué, por empezar, van a trabajar.

Pero en un alto porcentaje del análisis económico, el punto de vista de quienes toman decisiones es bastante estrecho. Empieza con lo que a la gente le gusta y no le gusta. A la gente pueden gustarles las naranjas o las bananas, o tener una preferencia por disfrutar de la vida hoy en lugar de ahorrar para el futuro. Luego decide qué comprar o cuánto ahorrar, en vista de los previos prevalecientes, las tasas de interés y sus propios ingresos. Los economistas han incluido en este análisis que la gente interactúa con los demás, pero en general han tratado este tipo de interacciones sociales de una manera mecánica, como si se tratara de materias primas.

Por ejemplo, en el análisis económico estándar de la discriminación de género en el lugar de trabajo, a los hombres no les gusta vincularse con las mujeres en el trabajo –de la misma manera que pueden preferir las manzanas a las naranjas-. Del mismo modo, el análisis económico estándar de la discriminación racial es que los blancos no quieren vincularse con los no blancos, y por ende exigen una prima para comprarle a no blancos o trabajar con ellos.

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