dominant, national / ethnic ones, as being Americans. Weisskirch (2007) found that Asian Americans and Latinos have the highest levels of ethnic identity and see themselves as not being typical Americans more than other ethnic groups. However, Latinos who reported not being typical Americans have higher levels of ethnic identity. For Asian Americans, perception of being a typical American made no difference in the levels of ethnic identity.
Self-identification refers to the ethnic label that a person uses for oneself. For example, a research with children has been concerned largely with the extent to which children „correctly‟ label themselves, whether the label they choose corresponds to the ethnicity of their parents (Abound, 1987). Phinney (1990) stated that adolescents and adults can be assumed to know their ethnicity, whereby they know what label to use for themselves. Although this seems to be quite simple and a straightforward statement, complexity arises when a person‟s identity as determined by descent may differ from how a person sees oneself ethnically, given the influence of many factors, among others, peers, environment and political system. Ethnic labeling gets more complicated if the parents are from two or more distinct ethnic groups. There is a possibility that a person chooses to have two identities or to be in between of the two identities.
If a person has a sense of belonging to a certain ethnic group, the person has no problem to determine his or her ethnic identity. Sometimes, people may use an ethnic label when specifically asked for and yet may not even have a strong sense of belonging to the group chosen (Phinney, 1990). Sense of belonging is difficult to quantify and evaluation of it must be measured with care through several „feeling of concern‟ questions.
Attitudes about a person‟s group membership affect how a person forms his or her ethnic identity. It is commonly accepted that positive attitudes and contentment with a person‟s own ethnic group indicates an acceptance of the ethnic identity. Negative attitudes towards a person‟s own ethnic group could lead to a denial of one‟s ethnic identity. Involvement in the social life and cultural practices of one‟s group is the most widely used indicator of ethnic identity (Phinney, 1990). The indicators often used for ethnic involvement are language, friendship, social organizations, religion, cultural traditions and politics.
Akerlof and Krantor (2000) proposed a utility function with identity. Identity is based on social categories C. Each person j has an assignment of people to these
categories, cj , so that each person has a conception of her (his) own categories and
that of all other people. Prescriptions P indicate the behaviour appropriate for people in different social categories in different situations. The utility function with identity is therefore
where utility depends on j‟s identity Ij, as well as on the usual vectors of j‟s
actions, a j , and others‟ actions, a j . Since a j and a j
determine j‟s consumption of
goods and services, these argument and U j are sufficient to capture the standard