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Measuring Ethnic Identity and Its Impact on Economic Behavior

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  • Amelie Constant
  • Klaus F. Zimmermann

Abstract

The paper advocates for a new measure of the ethnic identity of migrants, models its determinants and explores its explanatory power for various types of their economic performance. The ethnosizer, a measure of the intensity of a person's ethnic identity, is constructed from information on the following elements: language, culture, societal interaction, history of migration, and ethnic self-identification. A two-dimensional concept of the ethnosizer classifies migrants into four states: integration, assimilation, separation and marginalization. The ethnosizer largely depends on pre-migration characteristics. Empirical evidence studying economic behavior like work participation, earnings and housing decisions demonstrates the significant relevance of ethnic identity for economic outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Amelie Constant & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2007. "Measuring Ethnic Identity and Its Impact on Economic Behavior," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 47, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp47
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Carmel Chiswick, 2009. "The economic determinants of ethnic assimilation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(4), pages 859-880, October.
    2. Amelie F. Constant & Rowan Roberts & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2009. "Ethnic Identity and Immigrant Homeownership," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 46(9), pages 1879-1898, August.
    3. Harminder Battu & McDonald Mwale & Yves Zenou, 2007. "Oppositional identities and the labor market," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(3), pages 643-667, July.
    4. 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.
    5. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    6. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "Identity, Dignity and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," CEPR Discussion Papers 6123, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    9. 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.
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    18. 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).
    19. 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).
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    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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ethnicity; ethnic identity; acculturation; migrant assimilation; migrant integration; work; cultural economics;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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