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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. 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.
  2. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  3. Constant, Amelie F. & Roberts, Rowan & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2007. "Ethnic Identity and Immigrant Homeownership," IZA Discussion Papers 3050, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Constant, Amelie F. & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Ethnosizing immigrants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 274-287, March.
  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. 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.
  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. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. Carmel Chiswick, 2009. "The economic determinants of ethnic assimilation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 859-880, October.
  11. 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.
  12. Nekby, Lena & Rödin, Magnus, 2007. "Acculturation Identity and Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2826, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Harminder Battu & McDonald Mwale & Yves Zenou, 2007. "Oppositional identities and the labor market," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 643-667, July.
  14. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
  15. 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.
  16. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2007. "Identity, Dignity and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 50, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  17. Constant, Amelie F. & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F. & Zimmermann, Laura V, 2006. "Clash of Cultures: Muslims and Christians in the Ethnosizing Process," IZA Discussion Papers 2350, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. 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.
  19. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis & Melissa Osborne, 2001. "Incentive-Enhancing Preferences: Personality, Behavior and Earnings," Working Papers 01-01-004, Santa Fe Institute.
  20. Constant, Amelie & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2006. "Gender, Ethnic Identity and Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 5983, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Mason, Patrick L., 2004. "Annual income, hourly wages, and identity Among Mexican Americans and other Latinos," MPRA Paper 11326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  22. 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.
  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. 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.
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