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Measuring Ethnic Identity and Its Impact on Economic Behavior

  • Amelie Constant
  • Klaus F. Zimmermann

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.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 47.

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Length: 23 p.
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp47
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  1. GianMarco Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2004. "The Economic Value of Cultural Diversity: Evidence from US cities," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 91, Econometric Society.
  2. Amelie Constant & Rowan Roberts & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2007. "Ethnic Identity and Immigrant Homeownership," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 726, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:715-753 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Mason, Patrick L., 2004. "Annual income, hourly wages, and identity Among Mexican Americans and other Latinos," MPRA Paper 11326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. 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).
  9. Constant, Amelie & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F & Zimmermann, Laura, 2006. "Human Capital and Ethnic Self-Identification of Migrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 5884, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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).
  11. Bisin, Alberto & Patacchini, Eleonora & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2007. "Are Muslim Immigrants Different in Terms of Cultural Integration?," IZA Discussion Papers 3006, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. 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.
  13. Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2007. "Migrant Ethnic Identity: Concept and Policy Implications," IZA Discussion Papers 3056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Amelie F. Constant & Liliya Gataullina & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2009. "Ethnosizing Immigrants," Post-Print hal-00671932, HAL.
  15. Battu, Harminder & Mwale, MacDonald & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Oppositional Identities and the Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5351, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis & Melissa Osborne, 2001. "Incentive-Enhancing Preferences: Personality, Behavior and Earnings," Working Papers 01-01-004, Santa Fe Institute.
  17. 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.
  18. Nekby, Lena & Rödin, Magnus, 2007. "Acculturation Identity and Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2826, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Constant, Amelie & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2006. "Gender, Ethnic Identity and Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 5983, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "Identity, Dignity and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," IZA Discussion Papers 2583, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Carmel Chiswick, 2009. "The economic determinants of ethnic assimilation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 859-880, October.
  22. 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.
  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. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:2:p:551-583 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Klaus Zimmermann, 2007. "The economics of migrant ethnicity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 487-494, July.
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