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I'll marry you if you get me a job: Marital assimilation and immigrant employment rates

Listed author(s):
  • Delia Furtado

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to test whether marriage to a native affects the probability that an immigrant will be employed. Design/methodology/approach - Utilizing 2000 US Census data, first the effect of cross-nativity marriages on employment is examined using an ordinary least squares model. To deal with endogeneity concerns, a two-stage least squares model instrument for marriage to a native using local marriage market conditions is then estimated. Findings - Results from an ordinary least squares model controlling for the usual measures of human capital and immigrant assimilation suggest that marriage to a native increases an immigrant's employment probability by approximately four percentage points. When taking into account the endogeneity of the intermarriage decision, marriage to a native increases the probability of employment by about 11 percentage points. Research limitations/implications - Although various mechanisms are discussed through which marriage to a native can increase employment probabilities of immigrants, the authors do not disentangle these mechanisms. This is an area ripe for future research. Originality/value - It is shown that, from a theoretical perspective, marriage to a native has an ambiguous effect on immigrant employment rates. The empirical answer to this question provides insights into the assimilation process, which may prove useful in designing optimal immigration policies.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Manpower.

Volume (Year): 30 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1/2 (March)
Pages: 116-126

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:30:y:2009:i:1/2:p:116-126
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  1. Xin Meng, 2009. "Intermarriage, language, and economic assimilation process: A case study of France," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(1/2), pages 127-144, March.
  2. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, June.
  3. Cutler, David M. & Glaeser, Edward L. & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2008. "When are ghettos bad? Lessons from immigrant segregation in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 759-774, May.
  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. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  6. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks in the Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants in the U. S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599.
  7. Xin Meng, 2009. "Intermarriage, language, and economic assimilation process: A case study of France," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(1/2), pages 127-144, March.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1019-1055.
  9. Josh Angrist, 2002. "How Do Sex Ratios Affect Marriage and Labor Markets? Evidence from America's Second Generation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 997-1038.
  10. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-176, February.
  11. Barry R. Chiswick & Yinon Cohen & Tzippi Zach, 1997. "The Labor Market Status of Immigrants: Effects of the Unemployment Rate at Arrival and Duration of Residence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(2), pages 289-303, January.
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