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Integration as a catalyst for assimilation

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  • Stark, Oded
  • Jakubek, Marcin

Abstract

We draw a distinction between the social integration and economic assimilation of migrants, and study an interaction between the two. We define social integration as blending into the host country’s society, and economic assimilation as acquisition of human capital that is specific to the host country’s labor market. We show that a non-integrated migrant finds it optimal to acquire a relatively limited quantity of human capital; with fellow migrants constituting his only comparison group, a non-integrated migrant does not have a relative-deprivation-based incentive to close the income gap with the natives. However, when a migrant is made to integrate, his social proximity to the natives exposes him to relative deprivation, which in turn prompts him to form more destination-specific human capital in order to increase his earnings and narrow the income gap with the natives. In this way, social integration becomes a catalyst for economic assimilation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Review of Economics & Finance.

Volume (Year): 28 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 62-70

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Handle: RePEc:eee:reveco:v:28:y:2013:i:c:p:62-70

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620165

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Keywords: Assimilation; Integration; Social proximity; Interpersonal comparisons; Human capital formation;

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  1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-93, Nov.-Dec..
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  11. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  12. Oded Stark, 2010. "Looking at the Integration of Nations through the Lens of the Merger of Populations: Preliminary Superadditivity and Impossibility Results," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(IV), pages 661-675, December.
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  15. Oded Stark & J. Taylor, 1989. "Relative deprivation and international migration oded stark," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 1-14, February.
  16. Borjas, George J & Bronars, Stephen G & Trejo, Stephen J, 1992. "Assimilation and the Earnings of Young Internal Migrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 170-75, February.
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