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Ethnic Intermarriage among Immigrants: Human Capital and Assortative Mating

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  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago)

  • Houseworth, Christina A.

    (University of Illinois at Chicago and Litigation Analytics)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants of interethnic marriages by immigrants in the United States. The dependent variable is intermarriage across ethnic groups (on the basis of ancestry and country of birth) and the inclusion of the explanatory variables is justified by a simple rational choice economic model. A binomial logistic regression is estimated using data from the 1980 US Census, the last Census where post-migration marriages can be identified. Results show that the probability of intermarriage increases the longer a migrant resides in the U.S. and the younger the age at arrival. Both relationships can be attributable to the accumulation of US-specific human capital and an erosion of ethnic-specific human capital. Inter-ethnic marriages are more likely between individuals with similar education levels, providing evidence of positive assortative mating by education for immigrants. The construction of the availability ratio for potential spouses from one’s own group and group size using data from several Censuses provides a more accurate measure of the marriage market. Intermarriage is lower the greater the availability ratio and the larger the size of one’s own group. Linguistic distance of the immigrant’s mother tongue from English indirectly measures the effect of English language ability at arrival and is found to be a significant negative predictor of intermarriage. Those who report multiple ancestries and who were previously married are more likely to intermarry.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS in its series SULCIS Working Papers with number 2010:8.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 12 Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as Chiswick, Barry R. and Christina A. Houseworth, 'Ethnic Intermarriage among Immigrants: Human Capital and Assortative Mating' in Review of Economics of the Household, 2011, pages 149-180.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sulcis:2010_008

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Postal: Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS, Stockholm University, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Web page: http://www.su.se/sulcis
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Related research

Keywords: Immigrants; Marriage; Ethnicity/Ancestry; Country of Birth;

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References

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  1. Robert G. Wood, 1995. "Marriage Rates and Marriageable Men: A Test of the Wilson Hypothesis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 163-193.
  2. Celikaksoy, Aycan & Nielsen, Helena Skyt & Verner, Mette, 2003. "Marriage Migration: Just another case of positive assortative matching?," Working Papers 03-27, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  3. Michèle Belot & Jan Fidrmuc, 2009. "Anthropometry of Love Height and Gender Asymmetries in Interethnic Marriages," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp950, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  4. Evelyn Lehrer, 2008. "Age at marriage and marital instability: revisiting the Becker–Landes–Michael hypothesis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 463-484, April.
  5. Furtado, Delia, 2006. "Human Capital and Interethnic Marriage Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 1989, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  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.
  7. Meng, Xin & Meurs, Dominique, 2006. "Intermarriage, Language, and Economic Assimilation Process: A Case Study of France," IZA Discussion Papers 2461, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Xin Meng & Robert G. Gregory, 2005. "Intermarriage and the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 135-176, January.
  9. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 299-351 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2004. "Linguistic Distance: A Quantitative Measure of the Distance Between English and Other Languages," IZA Discussion Papers 1246, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Michael J. Brien, 1997. "Racial Differences in Marriage and the Role of Marriage Markets," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(4), pages 741-778.
  12. repec:iza:izadps:dp1142 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Chiswick, Carmel U., 2006. "The Economic Determinants of Ethnic Assimilation," IZA Discussion Papers 2212, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S11-S26, Part II, .
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