IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Immigration and Status Exchange in Australia and the United States


  • Kate H. Choi


  • Marta Tienda
  • Deborah Cobb-Clark
  • Mathias Sinning


The claim that marriage is a venue for status exchange of achieved traits, like education, and ascribed attributes, notably race and ethnic membership, has regained traction in the social stratification literature. Most studies that consider status exchanges ignore birthplace as a social boundary for status exchanges via couple formation. This paper evaluates the status exchange hypothesis for Australia and the United States, two Anglophone nations with long immigration traditions whose admission regimes place different emphases on skills. A log-linear analysis reveals evidence of status exchange in the United States among immigrants with lower levels of education and mixed nativity couples with foreign-born husbands. Partly because Australian educational boundaries are less sharply demarcated at the postsecondary level, we find is weaker evidence for the status exchange hypothesis. Australian status exchanges across nativity boundaries usually involve marriages between immigrant spouses with a postsecondary credential below a college degree and native-born high school graduates.

Suggested Citation

  • Kate H. Choi & Marta Tienda & Deborah Cobb-Clark & Mathias Sinning, 2011. "Immigration and Status Exchange in Australia and the United States," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2011-545, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2011-545

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zhenchao Qian, 1997. "Breaking the racial barriers: Variations in interracial marriage between 1980 and 1990," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(2), pages 263-276, May.
    2. Genevieve Heard, 2011. "Socioeconomic Marriage Differentials in Australia and New Zealand," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 37(1), pages 125-160, March.
    3. Christine Schwartz & Robert Mare, 2005. "Trends in educational assortative marriage from 1940 to 2003," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 42(4), pages 621-646, November.
    4. Paul W. Miller, 1999. "Immigration Policy and Immigrant Quality: The Australian Points System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 192-197, May.
    5. Gary P. Freeman & Bob Birrell, 2001. "Divergent Paths of Immigration Politics in the United States and Australia," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(3), pages 525-551.
    6. Aaron Gullickson, 2006. "Education and black-white interracial marriage," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(4), pages 673-689, November.
    7. Vincent Fu, 2001. "Racial intermarriage pairings," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(2), pages 147-159, May.
    8. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Nguyen, Trong-Ha, 2010. "Immigration Background and the Intergenerational Correlation in Education," IZA Discussion Papers 4985, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J., 2007. "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(02), pages 399-442, April.
    10. Florencia Torche, 2010. "Educational assortative mating and economic inequality: A comparative analysis of three Latin American countries," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(2), pages 481-502, May.
    11. Marta Tienda, 2002. "Demography and the social contract," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(4), pages 587-616, November.
    12. Frances Woolley, 2000. "Control over Money in Marriage," Carleton Economic Papers 00-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 2003.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Lichter, 2013. "Integration or Fragmentation? Racial Diversity and the American Future," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(2), pages 359-391, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality


    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:acb:cbeeco:2011-545. 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: (). 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.