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Intermarriage and the Intergenerational Transmission of Ethnic Identity and Human Capital for Mexican Americans

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  • Brian Duncan

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Colorado at Denver)

  • Stephen Trejo

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Texas at Austin, and CReAM)

Abstract

Using microdata from the 2000 U.S. Census and from recent years of the Current Population Survey (CPS), we investigate whether selective intermarriage and endogenous ethnic identification interact to hide some of the intergenerational progress achieved by the Mexican-origin population in the United States. First, using Census data for U.S.-born youth ages 16-17 who have at least one Mexican parent, we estimate how the Mexican identification, high school dropout rates, and English proficiency of these youth depend on whether they are the product of endogamous or exogamous marriages. Second, we analyze the extent and selectivity of ethnic attrition among second-generation Mexican-American adults and among U.S.-born Mexican-American youth. Using CPS data, we directly assess the influence of endogenous ethnicity by comparing an "objective" indicator of Mexican descent (based on the countries of birth of the respondent and his parents and grandparents) with the standard "subjective" measure of Mexican self-identification (based on the respondent's answer to the Hispanic origin question). For third-generation Mexican- American youth, we show that ethnic attrition is substantial and could produce significant downward bias in standard measures of attainment which rely on ethnic self-identification rather than objective indicators of Mexican ancestry.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper 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 0902.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0902

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Duncan, Brian & Trejo, Stephen, 2011. "Low-Skilled Immigrants and the U.S. Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 5964, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Helena Skyt Nielsen & Beatrice Schindler Rangvid, 2011. "The Impact of Parents’ Years since Migration on Children’s Academic Achievement," Economics Working Papers 2011-16, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  3. Klaus Zimmermann, 2007. "The economics of migrant ethnicity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 487-494, July.
  4. Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2011. "Tracking Intergenerational Progress for Immigrant Groups: The Problem of Ethnic Attrition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 603-08, May.
  5. Duncan, Brian & Trejo, Stephen, 2008. "Ancestry versus Ethnicity: The Complexity and Selectivity of Mexican Identification in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 3552, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Daniel Lichter, 2013. "Integration or Fragmentation? Racial Diversity and the American Future," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 359-391, April.
  7. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2010. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization," NBER Working Papers 16512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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