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Mixed-Nativity Marriages: a Marker of Immigrants' Integration or Marginality in the Host Countries? Evidence from Italy

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Listed:
  • Davide Azzolini
  • Raffaele Guetto

Abstract

Taking up an assimilation hypothesis, the growth of mixed-nativity marriages documented in many developed countries is often regarded as an indicator of immigrants' integration in the receiving societies. We contend that an alternative theoretical approach could enrich our understanding of the complex link between integration (or, assimilation) and intermarriages. Precisely, we build on theories on assortative mating to investigate the salience of status exchange in the formation of mixed-nativity unions in Italy. The country is a new destination of international migration characterised by particularly poor immigrants' socioeconomic integration. In line with recent empirical evidence emerging from other countries, like Australia, the US and Spain, we provide sound evidence in support of the status exchange hypothesis in Italy. Exploiting Italian Labor Force Survey data and unique register microdata on marriages, we find mixed-nativity marriages to be more likely when less educated older men marry better educated younger women, especially when the latter originate from non-Western countries. Foreign women are also more likely to marry an Italian man if they are not employed. These patterns become more similar when women possess the Italian citizenship at the moment of marriage, confirming the salience of status exchange when immigrants' integration is low.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Azzolini & Raffaele Guetto, 2014. "Mixed-Nativity Marriages: a Marker of Immigrants' Integration or Marginality in the Host Countries? Evidence from Italy," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2014-03, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.
  • Handle: RePEc:fbk:wpaper:2014-03
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    File URL: https://irvapp.fbk.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/FBK-IRVAPP-Working-Paper-No.-2014-03_1.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Delia Furtado, 2012. "Human Capital And Interethnic Marriage Decisions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 82-93, January.
    2. Delia Furtado & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos, 2011. "Interethnic marriage: a choice between ethnic and educational similarities," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(4), pages 1257-1279, October.
    3. Barry Chiswick & Christina Houseworth, 2011. "Ethnic intermarriage among immigrants: human capital and assortative mating," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 149-180, June.
    4. Adsera, Alicia & Ferrer, Ana, 2014. "Immigrants and Demography: Marriage, Divorce, and Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 7982, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Assimilation; Integration; Mixed-nativity marriages;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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