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

  • Delia Furtado
  • Nikolaos Theodoropoulos

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 (May)
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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