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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. Amelie F. Constant & Liliya Gataullina & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2009. "Ethnosizing Immigrants," Post-Print hal-00671932, HAL.
  2. Amelie F. Constant & Rowan Roberts & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2009. "Ethnic Identity and Immigrant Homeownership," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 46(9), pages 1879-1898, August.
  3. Nekby, Lena & Rödin, Magnus, 2007. "Acculturation Identity and Labor Market Outcomes," SULCIS Working Papers 2007:4, Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS.
  4. Zimmermann, Laura V & Zimmermann, Klaus F. & Constant, Amelie F., 2006. "Ethnic Self-Identification of First-Generation Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 2535, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2004. "The Economic Value of Cultural Diversity: Evidence from US Cities," CESifo Working Paper Series 1117, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Battu, Harminder & Mwale, McDonald & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Oppositional Identities and the Labor Market," Working Paper Series 649, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2007. "Migrant Ethnic Identity: Concept and Policy Implications," IZA Discussion Papers 3056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. 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.
  15. Constant, Amelie & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F & Zimmermann, Laura, 2006. "Human Capital and Ethnic Self-Identification of Migrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 5884, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. 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.
  17. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "Identity, Dignity and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," CEPR Discussion Papers 6123, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Alberto Bisin & Eleonora Patacchini & Thierry Verdier & Yves Zenou, 2008. "Are Muslim Immigrants Different in Terms of Cultural Integration?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 445-456, 04-05.
  19. David Austen-Smith & Roland G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of "Acting White"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 551-583, May.
  20. Mason, Patrick L., 2004. "Annual income, hourly wages, and identity Among Mexican Americans and other Latinos," MPRA Paper 11326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  22. Carmel Chiswick, 2009. "The economic determinants of ethnic assimilation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 859-880, October.
  23. 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.
  24. Klaus Zimmermann, 2007. "The economics of migrant ethnicity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 487-494, July.
  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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