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The Long-Run Effect of 9/11: Terrorism, Backlash, and the Assimilation of Muslim Immigrants in the West

  • Gould, Eric D
  • Klor, Esteban F

This paper investigates whether the 9/11 attacks will have a long-term impact by altering the fertility and assimilation rate of immigrants from Muslim countries in the United States. Terror attacks by Islamic groups are likely to induce a backlash against the Muslim community, and therefore, tend to raise the costs of assimilation for Muslims in the West. We test this hypothesis by exploiting variation across states in the number of hate crimes against Muslims in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Our results show that Muslim immigrants living in states which experienced the sharpest increase in hate crimes also exhibit: (i) greater chances of marrying within their own ethnic group; (ii) higher fertility; (iii) lower female labor force participation; and (iv) lower English proficiency. Importantly, the state-level increase in hate crimes against Muslims after the 9/11 attacks was not correlated with the pre-existing state-level trend in any of these assimilation outcomes. Moreover, we do not find similar effects for any other immigrant group after the 9/11 attacks. Overall, our results show that the backlash induced by the 9/11 attacks increased the ethnic identity and demographic strength of the Muslim immigrant community in the U.S. These findings shed light on the increasing use of terror attacks on Western countries, with the concurrent rise in social and political tensions surrounding the assimilation of Muslim immigrants in several European countries.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8797.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8797
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  1. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond The Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, And The Evolution Of Ethnic And Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988, August.
  2. Bisin, Alberto & Patacchini, Eleonora & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2007. "Are Muslim Immigrants Different in Terms of Cultural Integration?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6453, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Alberto Dávila & Marie Mora, 2005. "Changes in the earnings of Arab men in the US between 2000 and 2002," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 587-601, November.
  4. Dominic Rohner & Bruno Frey, 2007. "Blood and ink! The common-interest-game between terrorists and the media," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 129-145, October.
  5. Nils Braakmann, 2010. "Islamistic Terror And The Labour Market Prospects Of Arab Men In England: Does A Country'S Direct Involvement Matter?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 57(4), pages 430-454, 09.
  6. Olof Åslund & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2005. "Shifts in attitudes and labor market discrimination: Swedish experiences after 9-11," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 603-629, November.
  7. Neeraj Kaushal & Robert Kaestner & Cordelia Reimers, 2007. "Labor Market Effects of September 11th on Arab and Muslim Residents of the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
  8. David A. Jaeger & Esteban F. Klor & Sami H. Miaari & M. Daniele Paserman, 2008. "The Struggle for Palestinian Hearts and Minds: Violence and Public Opinion in the Second Intifada," NBER Working Papers 13956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lapan, Harvey E. & Sandler, Todd, 1993. "Terrorism and Signalling," Staff General Research Papers 10808, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  10. Javier Gardeazabal, 2010. "Vote Shares in Spanish General Elections as a Fractional Response to the Economy and Conflict," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 33, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  11. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi, 2007. "Human Capital and the Productivity of Suicide Bombers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 223-238, Summer.
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