IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Intermarriage, language, and economic assimilation process: A case study of France


  • Xin Meng
  • Dominique Meurs


Purpose - The aim of this paper is to study the role of intermarriage in the process of immigrant economic assimilation in France. Design/methodology/approach - The authors estimate an earnings equation for immigrants in France to examine the extent to which intermarried immigrants are better assimilated in the labor market – as measured by earnings – than their non-intermarried counterparts. To handle the possible endogeneity problem of intermarriage, two novel instruments are used: the “sex ratio” for each region-ethnicity cell, and “probability of marrying within one's own ethnic group”. Findings - It wass found that immigrants who are intermarried earn around 17 per cent more than immigrants who are endogamously married. After taking into account individual characteristics and endogeneity of intermarriage, the premium is around 25 to 35 per cent. In addition, the intermarriage premium is substantially higher for individuals who have a better grasp of the French language before migration than for those whose language skill is poor. This result seems to suggest that, perhaps, immigrants who have a strong base in the native language can gain greater benefit from intermarriage. Originality/value - The paper is the first to investigate this important aspect of immigrants' assimilation process in the French labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Xin Meng & Dominique Meurs, 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:30:y:2009:i:1/2:p:127-144

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kantarevic, Jasmin, 2004. "Interethnic Marriages and Economic Assimilation of Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 1142, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-288, April.
    5. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-489, October.
    6. Eric Maurin, 1991. "Les étrangers : une main-d'oeuvre à part ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 242(1), pages 39-50.
    7. 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.
    8. Bell, Brian D, 1997. "The Performance of Immigrants in the United Kingdom: Evidence from the GHS," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 333-344, March.
    9. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 95-126, December.
    10. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2003. "Language proficiency and labour market performance of immigrants in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 695-717, July.
    11. Constant, Amelie F., 2003. "Immigrant Adjustment in France and Impacts on the Natives," IZA Discussion Papers 866, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. A. Dupray & Stéphanie Moullet, 2004. "Quelles discriminations à l'encontre des jeunes d'origine maghrébine à l'entrée du marché du travail en France?," Brussels Economic Review,in: Lahcen Achy (ed.), Marché du travail et genre: Maghreb-Europe ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    13. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1994. "The Performance of Immigrants in the Canadian Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 369-405, July.
    14. Christian Dustmann & Arthur Van Soest, 2002. "Language and the Earnings of Immigrants," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(3), pages 473-492, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Immigration; Mixed marriages; Language; National cultures; Government policy; France;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:30:y:2009:i:1/2:p:127-144. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.