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Measuring Ethnic Identity and its Impact on Economic Behavior

  • Amelie F. Constant
  • Klaus F. Zimmermann

This article advocates for a new measure of the ethnic identity of migrants, models its determinants, and explores its explanatory power for economic performance. The ethnosizer, a measure of the intensity of a person's ethnic identity, is constructed from information on the following elements: language, media, ethnic self-identification, ethnic networks, and residency plans. The two-dimensional concept of the ethnosizer classifies migrants into four states: assimilation, integration, marginalization, and separation. The ethnosizer is found to mainly depend on pre-migration characteristics, and to be exogenous to economic activity. Ethnic identity significantly affects economic outcomes. (JEL: F22; J15; J16; Z10) (c) 2008 by the European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 6 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 424-433

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:6:y:2008:i:2-3:p:424-433
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  1. Bisin, Alberto & Patacchini, Eleonora & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2007. "Are Muslim Immigrants Different in Terms of Cultural Integration?," IZA Discussion Papers 3006, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Laura Zimmermann & Klaus F. Zimmermann & Amelie Constant, 2006. "Ethnic Self-Identification of First-Generation Immigrants," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 657, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2007. "Migrant Ethnic Identity: Concept And Policy Implications," Ekonomia, Cyprus Economic Society and University of Cyprus, vol. 10(1), pages 1-17, Summer.
  4. Amelie Constant & Rowan Roberts & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2007. "Ethnic Identity and Immigrant Homeownership," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 726, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Klaus Zimmermann, 2007. "The economics of migrant ethnicity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 487-494, July.
  6. Kuran, Timur, 1998. "Ethnic Norms and Their Transformation through Reputational Cascades," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 623-59, June.
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  9. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2006. "The economic value of cultural diversity: evidence from US cities," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 9-44, January.
  10. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "Identity, Dignity and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," IZA Discussion Papers 2583, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Mason, Patrick L., 2004. "Annual income, hourly wages, and identity Among Mexican Americans and other Latinos," MPRA Paper 11326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Amelie Constant & Liliya Gataullina & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2006. "Gender, Ethnic Identity and Work," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 643, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  14. Constant, Amelie F. & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Ethnosizing immigrants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 274-287, March.
  15. Fearon, James D. & Laitin, David D., 2000. "Violence and the Social Construction of Ethnic Identity," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(04), pages 845-877, September.
  16. Laura Zimmermann & Liliya Gataullina & Amelie Constant & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2006. "Human Capital and Ethnic Self-Identification of Migrants," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 616, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  17. Oriol Aspachs-Bracons & Irma Clots-Figueras & Joan Costa-Font & Paolo Masella, 2008. "Compulsory Language Educational Policies and Identity Formation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 434-444, 04-05.
  18. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  19. Darity, William Jr. & Mason, Patrick L. & Stewart, James B., 2006. "The economics of identity: The origin and persistence of racial identity norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 283-305, July.
  20. Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles & Melissa Osborne, 2001. "Incentive-Enhancing Preferences: Personality, Behavior, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 155-158, May.
  21. Amelie Constant & Liliya Gataullina & Klaus F. Zimmermann & Laura Zimmermann, 2006. "Clash of Cultures: Muslims and Christians in the Ethnosizing Process," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 628, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  22. Nekby, Lena & Rödin, Magnus, 2007. "Acculturation Identity and Labor Market Outcomes," SULCIS Working Papers 2007:4, Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS.
  23. Chiswick, Carmel U., 2006. "The Economic Determinants of Ethnic Assimilation," IZA Discussion Papers 2212, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. David Austen-Smith & Ronald G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of 'Acting White'," Discussion Papers 1399, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  25. Bisin, Alberto & Patacchini, Eleonora & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2006. "'Bend It Like Beckham': Identity, Socialization and Assimilation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5662, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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