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The Social Assimilation of Immigrants

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  • de Palo, Domenico
  • Faini, Riccardo
  • Venturini, Alessandra

Abstract

Policy makers in migrant-receiving countries must often strike a delicate balance between economic needs, that would dictate a substantial increase in the number of foreign workers, and political and electoral imperatives, that typically result in highly restrictive immigration policies. Promoting integration of migrants into the host country would go a long way in alleviating the trade off between economic and political considerations. While there is a large literature on the economic assimilation of immigrants, somewhat less attention has been devoted to other - and equally crucial - dimensions of migrants’ integration, namely the process of social assimilation. The aim of this paper is to take a close look at migrants social integration into the host country. We rely on the European Community Household panel (ECHP), which devotes a full module to the role and relevance of social relations for both migrants and natives. An innovative feature of this analysis is that it relies on migrants perceptions about their integration rather than - as is typically the case in most opinion surveys - on natives attitudes toward migrants. The main results of the paper can be summarized as follows. First, migrants - particularly from non EU origins - are at a disadvantage in the fields of social relations. Even after controlling for their individual characteristics, such as age, education, family size, and employment status, they tend to socialize less than natives. Second, migrants tend to converge, albeit quite slowly, to the standard of natives. This finding highlights the risks of short term migration, where migrants tend to be constantly marginalized. Third, education has a significant impact on the type of social activities that individuals undertake. More educated people tend to relate somewhat less with their close neighbourhood, but quite intensively with the broader community. The implication for policy makers concerned about the creation of ethnic enclaves is to promote education among immigrants’ community.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5992.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5992

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Keywords: assimilation; immigration; social relationships;

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References

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  1. Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University), 2005. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-10, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Gilbert,Christopher L. & Vines,David (ed.), 2006. "The World Bank," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521029018.
  3. Durlauf, Steven N. & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2005. "Social Capital," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1639-1699 Elsevier.
  4. Steven N. Durlauf, 2002. "On the Empirics of Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 459-479, November.
  5. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  6. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Harry P. Bowen & Jennifer Pédussel Wu, 2013. "Immigrant Specificity and the Relationship between Trade and Immigration: Theory and Evidence," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 366-384, October.
  2. Boakye, Said, 2012. "Theory of social transformation, political transition and economic growth," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 411-425.
  3. Barbara Dietz, 2007. "Migration policy challenges at the new Eastern borders of the enlarged European Union : The Ukrainian case," Working Papers 267, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and South-East European Studies).
  4. Miriam Henseler & Joachim Plesch, 2009. "How Can Scholarship Institutions Foster the Return of Foreign Students?," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 229(4), pages 382-409, August.
  5. Aleksynska, Mariya, 2011. "Civic participation of immigrants in Europe: Assimilation, origin, and destination country effects," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 566-585, September.
  6. Aleksynska, Mariya & Algan, Yann, 2010. "Assimilation and Integration of Immigrants in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 5185, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Aleksynska, Mariya, 2007. "Civic Participation of Immigrants: Culture Transmission and Assimilation," MPRA Paper 4594, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Facchini, Giovanni & Patacchini, Eleonora & Steinhardt, Max, 2014. "Migration, Friendship Ties and Cultural Assimilation," IZA Discussion Papers 7881, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Cameron, Lisa A. & Erkal, Nisvan & Gangadharan, Lata & Zhang, Marina, 2012. "Cultural Integration: Experimental Evidence of Changes in Immigrants' Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 6467, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Mariya Aleksynska & Yann Algan, 2010. "Economic and Cultural Assimilation and Integration of Immigration in Europe," Working Papers 2010-29, CEPII research center.
  11. Caroline Berchet & Nicolas Sirven, 2012. "Cross-Country Performance in Social Integration of Older Migrants. A European Perspective," Working Papers DT46, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Mar 2012.

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