Essays On Rationality And Social Action: Status Exchange, Assimilation, And Red Hat Strategy

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This dissertation examines the rationality of social action. The firm adopting the "red hat" strategy or individuals seeking partners with matching assets and qualifications can all be seen as agents who try to maximize their utilities by searching for what they regard as the most profitable action. The dissertation includes three distinct chapters. The first chapter reexamines the status exchange hypothesis (Davis 1941; Merton1941), and specifically reanalyzes the data from Fu (2001) on recent marriages among whites, blacks, Mexicans, and Japanese (from the 1990 PUMS data), which claims to corroborate the status exchange hypothesis for intermarriage between whites and blacks as well as between whites and Mexican Americans. Using a simple quasisymmetry model, I show that the same-race and mixed-race marriage share a broadly similar pattern of educational homogamy, which is quasi-symmetric in character. Thus, I argue that this suggests little, if any, evidence for the status exchange hypothesis. Furthermore, the evidence strongly indicates that there is a remarkable consistency and symmetry in husband/wife educational attainment regardless of race (with the possible exception of white/white marriages); intermarried couples share a similar level of education, and educational homogamy dominates the educational marriages, no matter what their or their spouse's races are. The second chapter employs a game theory framework as well as case studies to examine the interactions between entrepreneurs and local governments under transitional institutions and examine how these actors play extensive games with perfect information. According to this game, the adoption of the "red hat" strategy is the rational results of the interaction between private firms and local governments. The third chapter employs multi-level logistic models to examine the ACS 2008 data and shows that the multilevel modeling helps to decompose the variance of intermarriage to individual level (preference) and context-level characteristics constraints in the analysis of interracial marriage. Metropolitan-level variables, which are typically ignored in previous research, provide additional understanding of the previous of Asian interracial and endogamous marriage in the United States. Studies of interracial marriage can no longer easily overlook the population geographic distribution and the nativity or generation structure of minority groups.
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rationality; status exchange; assimilation; red hat strategy; multilevel logistical model; intermarria
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Nee, Victor
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Booth, James
Lichter, Daniel T.
Opper, Sonja
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Ph. D., Sociology
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Government Document
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dissertation or thesis
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