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Immigrants assimilate as communities, not just as individuals

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  • Timothy Hatton

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  • Andrew Leigh

Abstract

There is a large econometric literature that examines the economic assimilation of immigrants in the United States and elsewhere. On the whole immigrants are seen as atomistic individuals assimilating in a largely anonymous labour market, a view that runs counter to the spirit of the equally large literature on ethnic groups. Here we argue that immigrants assimilate as communities, not just as individuals. The longer the immigrant community has been established the better adjusted it is to the host society and the more the host society comes to accept that ethnic group. Thus economic outcomes for immigrants should depend not just on their own characteristics, but also on the legacy of past immigration from the same country. In this paper we test this hypothesis using data from a 5 percent sample of the 1980, 1990 and 2000 US censuses. We find that history matters in immigrant assimilation: the stronger is the tradition of immigration from a given source country, the better the economic outcomes for new immigrants from that source.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 389-419

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:24:y:2011:i:2:p:389-419

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Keywords: Immigrant assimilation; Ethnic origin; US labour market; F22; J15; J61;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Sinning, Mathias, 2009. "Neighborhood Diversity and the Appreciation of Native- and Immigrant-Owned Homes," IZA Discussion Papers 4464, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. André Martínez & Martina Viarengo & Aldo Musacchio, 2010. "The Great Leap Forward: The Political Economy of Education in Brazil, 1889-1930," Working Papers 2010-18, Banco de México.
  3. Alessandra Venturini, 2012. "Methodological Aspects of Research on Flows Human Capital Flows: A survey," RSCAS Working Papers carim2012/01, European University Institute.
  4. Kahanec, Martin, 2013. "Skilled labor flows : lessons from the European Union," Social Protection Discussion Papers 75529, The World Bank.
  5. Constant, Amelie F. & Schüller, Simone & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2013. "Ethnic Spatial Dispersion and Immigrant Identity," IZA Discussion Papers 7868, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. James Foreman-Peck & Peng Zhou, 2013. "The strength and persistence of entrepreneurial cultures," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 163-187, January.
  7. Faini, Riccardo & Strom, Steinar & Venturini, Alessandra & Villosio, Claudia, 2009. "Are Foreign Migrants More Assimilated Than Native Ones?," IZA Discussion Papers 4639, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Vaira-Lucero, Matias & Nahm, Daehoon & Tani, Massimiliano, 2012. "Socioeconomic Assimilation and Wealth Accumulation of Migrants in Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 6969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Steinar Strøm & Alessandra Venturini & Claudia Villosio, 2013. "Wage assimilation: migrants versus natives and foreign migrants versus internal migrants," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/30, European University Institute.
  10. Ferrie, Joseph & Hatton, Timothy J., 2013. "Two Centuries of International Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 7866, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Richard M. Todd & Michael Grover, 2008. "Accounting for regional migration patterns and homeownership disparities in the Hmong-American refugee community, 1980-2000," Community Affairs Report 2008-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Edgard Polanco, 2009. "Asimilación laboral de los inmigrantes colombianos en Estados Unidos," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  13. Kahanec, Martin & Tosun, Mehmet S., 2007. "Political Economy of Immigration in Germany: Attitudes and Citizenship Aspirations," IZA Discussion Papers 3140, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Kahanec, Martin, 2012. "Report No. 49: Skilled Labor Flows: Lessons from the European Union," IZA Research Reports 49, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2010. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization," NBER Working Papers 16512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Georgiadis, Andreas & Manning, Alan, 2013. "One nation under a groove? Understanding national identity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 166-185.

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