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Cultural Distance and the US Immigrant-Trade Link

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  • Roger White
  • Bedassa Tadesse

Abstract

Using data from the World and the European Values Surveys, we calculate cultural distances between the US and 54 immigrant home countries and examine the influences of cultural distance and immigrant populations on US imports from and exports to immigrants' home countries during the years 1997-2004. Our study indicates that, for both US imports and exports, the trade-enhancing effect of immigrants partially offsets the trade-inhibiting effect of cultural distance. Further, decomposing our measure of cultural distance into two component dimensions and revisiting the immigrant-trade relationship, we find significant variation in the extent to which immigrants counter the trade-inhibiting influences of the underlying dimensions of culture for both US imports and exports. Our findings have the implication that by countering the trade-inhibiting influences of cultural differences between their home and host countries, immigrants exert pro-development effects. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger White & Bedassa Tadesse, 2008. "Cultural Distance and the US Immigrant-Trade Link," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(8), pages 1078-1096, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:31:y:2008:i:8:p:1078-1096
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert E.B. Lucas, 2014. "The migration–trade link in developing economies: a summary and extension of evidence," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 11, pages 288-326 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Tamara Mata & Carlos Llano, 2013. "Social networks and trade of services: modelling interregional flows with spatial and network autocorrelation effects," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 319-367, July.
    3. Behncke, Nadine, 2014. "The structure of ethnic networks and exports: Evidence from Germany," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 198, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Grossmann, Volker & Kohler, Wilhelm, 2012. "Migration, International Trade and Capital Formation: Cause or Effect?," IZA Discussion Papers 6975, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Cyrus Teresa L., 2012. "Cultural Distance and Bilateral Trade," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 12(4), pages 1-25, December.
    6. Faqin Lin, 2011. "The pro-trade impacts of immigrants: a meta-analysis of network effects," Journal of Chinese Economic and Foreign Trade Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 4(1), pages 17-27, February.
    7. Peter H. Egger & Maximilian von Ehrlich & Douglas R. Nelson, 2012. "Migration and Trade," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 216-241, February.
    8. Horácio Faustino & Isabel Proença, 2011. "Effects of Immigration on Intra-Industry Trade: A logit analysis," Working Papers Department of Economics 2011/19, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    9. Christopher R. Parsons & L. Alan Winters, 2014. "International migration, trade and aid: a survey," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 4, pages 65-112 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Annie Tubadji & Brian Osoba & Peter Nijkamp, 2015. "Culture-based development in the USA: culture as a factor for economic welfare and social well-being at a county level," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 39(3), pages 277-303, August.
    11. de la Mata, Tamara, 2011. "Does trade creation by social and business networks hold in services? An analysis for Accommodation and Restaurants in Spain," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2011/04, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
    12. BELLINO, Antonella & CELI, Giuseppe, 2016. "The Migration-Trade Nexus in the Presence of Vertical and Horizontal Product Differentiation," CELPE Discussion Papers 137, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    13. Pierre-Louis Vézina, 2012. "How Migrant Networks Facilitate Trade: Evidence from Swiss Exports," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 148(III), pages 449-476, September.

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