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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. Delia Furtado, 2006. "Human Capital and Interethnic Marriage Decisions," Working papers 2006-03, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Carmel Chiswick, 2009. "The economic determinants of ethnic assimilation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 859-880, October.
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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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).
  13. 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.
  14. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 11-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nottmeyer, Olga, 2010. "Does Intermarriage Pay Off? A Panel Data Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 5104, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Alberto Bisin & Eleonora Patacchini & Thierry Verdier & Yves Zenou, 2011. "Ethnic identity and labour market outcomes of immigrants in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 26(65), pages 57-92, January.
  3. Olga Nottmeyer, 2010. "Does Intermarriage Pay Off?: A Panel Data Analysis," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1044, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Nekby, Lena, 2010. "Same, Same but (Initially) Different? The Social Integration of Natives and Immigrants in Sweden," SULCIS Working Papers 2010:4, Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS.
  5. Georgarakos, Dimitris & Tatsiramos, Konstantinos, 2009. "Immigrant Self-Employment: Does Intermarriage Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 4350, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Furtado, Delia & Trejo, Stephen, 2012. "Interethnic Marriages and their Economic Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 6399, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Oreffice, Sonia, 2014. "Culture and Household Decision Making: Balance of Power and Labor Supply Choices of US-born and Foreign-born Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 7997, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Lina Andersson & Mats Hammarstedt, 2011. "Transmission of self-employment across immigrant generations: the importance of ethnic background and gender," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 555-577, December.
  9. Regina Flake, 2011. "Gender Differences in the Intergenerational Earnings Mobility of Second-Generation Migrants," Ruhr Economic Papers 0283, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  10. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2010. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization," NBER Working Papers 16512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Furtado, Delia & Marcén, Miriam & Sevilla, Almudena, 2011. "Does Culture Affect Divorce Decisions? Evidence from European Immigrants in the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5960, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Nottmeyer, Olga, 2011. "Couple's Relative Labor Supply in Intermarriage," IZA Discussion Papers 5567, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Olga Nottmeyer, 2010. "Does Intermarriage Pay Off?: A Panel Data Analysis," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 314, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  14. Furtado, Delia & Theodoropoulos, Nikolaos, 2008. "Interethnic Marriage: A Choice between Ethnic and Educational Similarities," IZA Discussion Papers 3448, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Aycan, Çelikaksoy & Lena, Nekby & Saman, Rashid, 2009. "Assortative Mating by Ethnic Background and Education in Sweden: The Role of Parental Composition on Partner Choice," SULCIS Working Papers 2009:7, Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS.

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