Interethnic Marriage Decisions: A Choice between Ethnic and Educational Similarities
AbstractThis paper examines the effect of education on intermarriage and specifically, whether the mechanisms through which education affects intermarriage differ by immigrant generation and race. We consider three main paths through which education affects marriage choice. First, educated people may be better able to adapt to different customs and cultures making them more likely to marry outside of their ethnicity. Second, because the educated are less likely to reside in ethnic enclaves, meeting potential spouses of the same ethnicity may involve higher search costs. Lastly, if spouse-searchers value similarities in education as well as ethnicity, then they may be willing to substitute similarities in education for ethnicity when evaluating spouses. Thus, the effect of education will depend on the availability of same-ethnicity potential spouses with a similar level of education. Using U.S. Census data, we find evidence for all three effects for the population in general. However, assortative matching on education seems to be relatively more important for the native born, for the foreign born that arrived at a fairly young age, and for Asians. We conclude by providing additional pieces of evidence suggestive of our hypotheses.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 0716.
Date of creation: Dec 2007
Date of revision:
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Ethnic intermarriage; Education; Immigration;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
- J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-01-19 (All new papers)
- NEP-EDU-2008-01-19 (Education)
- NEP-HRM-2008-01-19 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-LAB-2008-01-19 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-MIG-2008-01-19 (Economics of Human Migration)
- NEP-SEA-2008-01-19 (South East Asia)
- NEP-SOC-2008-01-19 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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