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Immigrant Assimilation into U.S. Prisons, 1900-1930

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  • Carolyn M. Moehling
  • Anne Morrison Piehl

Abstract

The analysis of a new dataset on state prisoners in the 1900 to 1930 censuses reveals that immigrants rapidly assimilated to native incarceration patterns. One feature of these data is that the second generation can be identified, allowing direct analysis of this group and allowing their exclusion from calculations of comparison rates for the “native” population. Although adult new arrivals were less likely than natives to be incarcerated, this likelihood was increasing with their years in the U.S. The foreign born who arrived as children and second generation immigrants had slightly higher rates of incarceration than natives of native parentage, but these differences disappear after controlling for nativity differences in urbanicity and occupational status. Finally, while the incarceration rates of new arrivals differ significantly by source country, patterns of assimilation are very similar.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19083.

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Date of creation: May 2013
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Publication status: published as Carolyn Moehling & Anne Piehl, 2014. "Immigrant assimilation into US prisons, 1900–1930," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 173-200, January.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19083

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  1. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2012. "A Nation of Immigrants: Assimilation and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," NBER Working Papers 18011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James P. Smith, 2005. "Immigrants and the Labor Market," Working Papers, RAND Corporation Publications Department 321, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. David Card, 2004. "Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0402, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
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