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Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmaresured Progress by Mexican Americans

Author

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  • Brian Duncan

    () (Department of Economics, University of Colorado at Denver)

  • Stephen Trejo

    () (Department of Economics, University of Texas at Austin)

Abstract

Using Census and CPS data, we show that U.S.-born Mexican Americans who marry non- Mexicans are substantially more educated and English proficient, on average, than are Mexican Americans who marry co-ethnics (whether they be Mexican Americans or Mexican immigrants). In addition, the non-Mexican spouses of intermarried Mexican Americans possess relatively high levels of schooling and English proficiency, compared to the spouses of endogamously married Mexican Americans. The human capital selectivity of Mexican intermarriage generates corresponding differences in the employment and earnings of Mexican Americans and their spouses. Moreover, the children of intermarried Mexican Americans are much less likely to be identified as Mexican than are the children of endogamous Mexican marriages. These forces combine to produce strong negative correlations between the education, English proficiency, employment, and earnings of Mexican-American parents and the chances that their children retain a Mexican ethnicity. Such findings raise the possibility that selective ethnic "attrition" might bias observed measures of intergenerational progress for Mexican Americans.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Duncan & Stephen Trejo, 2006. "Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmaresured Progress by Mexican Americans," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0602, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0602
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Gender and Assimilation Among Mexican Americans," NBER Chapters,in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 57-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. James P. Smith, 2003. "Assimilation across the Latino Generations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 315-319, May.
    4. Trejo, Stephen J, 1997. "Why Do Mexican Americans Earn Low Wages?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1235-1268, December.
    5. Borjas, George J, 1993. "The Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 113-135, January.
    6. Farley, Reynolds, 1990. "Blacks, Hispanics, and White Ethnic Groups: Are Blacks Uniquely Disadvantaged?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 237-241, May.
    7. Vincent Fu, 2001. "Racial intermarriage pairings," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(2), pages 147-159, May.
    8. Joel Perlmann, 2003. "Mexicans Now, Italians Then: Intermarriage Patterns," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_376, Levy Economics Institute.
    9. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
    10. Gretchen Livingston & Joan R. Kahn, 2002. "An American Dream Unfulfilled: The Limited Mobility of Mexican Americans," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 83(4), pages 1003-1012.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2011. "Intermarriage and the Intergenerational Transmission of Ethnic Identity and Human Capital for Mexican Americans," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 195-227.
    2. Francine Blau & Lawrence Kahn & Albert Liu & Kerry Papps, 2013. "The transmission of women’s fertility, human capital, and work orientation across immigrant generations," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 405-435, April.
    3. Laura Zimmermann & Klaus F. Zimmermann & Amelie Constant, 2006. "Ethnic Self-Identification of First-Generation Immigrants," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 657, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. repec:eme:rleczz:s0147-9121(2009)0000029005 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Duncan, Brian & Trejo, Stephen, 2008. "Ancestry versus Ethnicity: The Complexity and Selectivity of Mexican Identification in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 3552, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Daniel Parent, 2009. "Intergenerational Progress in Educational Attainment when Institutional Change Really Matters: a Case Study of Franco-Americans vs. French-Speaking Quebeckers," Cahiers de recherche 0917, CIRPEE.
    7. Zimmermann, Laura & Gataullina, Liliya & Constant, Amelie & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2008. "Human capital and ethnic self-identification of immigrants," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 235-239, March.
    8. Andrén, Daniela, 2010. ""In every rank, or great or small, ’Tis industry supports us all": Romanians and ethnic Hungarians, and their wages, in transition," Working Papers 2010:1, Örebro University, School of Business.
    9. Richard Alba & Tariqul Islam, 2009. "The Case of the Disappearing Mexican Americans: An Ethnic-Identity Mystery," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 28(2), pages 109-121, April.
    10. Daniel Parent, 2009. "Intergenerational Progress in Educational Attainment when Institutional Change Really Matters: a Case Study of Franco-Americans vs. French-Speaking Quebeckers," Cahiers de recherche 0917, CIRPEE.
    11. van Ours, Jan C. & Veenman, Justus, 2008. "How Interethnic Marriages Affect the Educational Attainment of Children: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 3308, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Nielsen, Helena Skyt & Smith, Nina & Celikaksoy, Aycan, 2007. "The Effect of Marriage on Education of Immigrants: Evidence from a Policy Reform Restricting Spouse Import," IZA Discussion Papers 2899, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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