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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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  8. Zimmermann, Laura V & Gataullina, Liliya & Constant, Amelie F. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2006. "Human Capital and Ethnic Self-Identification of Migrants," IZA Discussion Papers 2300, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2004. "The Economic Value of Cultural Diversity: Evidence from US Cities," Working Papers 2004.34, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
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  15. 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.
  16. 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).
  17. Nekby, Lena & Rödin, Magnus, 2007. "Acculturation Identity and Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2826, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  22. Mason, Patrick L., 2004. "Annual income, hourly wages, and identity Among Mexican Americans and other Latinos," MPRA Paper 11326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  23. Constant, Amelie F. & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2006. "Gender, Ethnic Identity and Work," IZA Discussion Papers 2420, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. David Austen-Smith & Roland G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of "Acting White"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 551-583.
  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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