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The Effect of Marriage on Education of Immigrants: Evidence from a Policy Reform Restricting Spouse Import

  • Nielsen, Helena Skyt


    (Aarhus University)

  • Smith, Nina


    (Aarhus University)

  • Celikaksoy, Aycan


    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

We investigate the effect of immigrants’ marriage behavior on dropout from education. To identify the causal effect, we exploit a recent Danish policy reform which generated exogenous variation in marriage behavior by a complete abolishment of spouse import for immigrants below 24 years of age. We find that the abrupt change of marriage behavior following the reform is associated with improved educational attainment of young immigrants. The causal impact of marriage on dropout for males is estimated to be around 20 percentage points, whereas the effect for females is small and mostly insignificant. We interpret the results as being consistent with a scenario where family investment motives drive the behavior of males, while the association between marriage and dropout for females is driven by selection effects. The estimated causal effect varies considerably across subgroups.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2899.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2009, 111(3), 457 - 486
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2899
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  1. Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2007. "Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 229-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Weiss, Y., 1993. "The Formation and Dissolution of Families: Why Marry? Who Maries Whom? and what Happens Upon Divorce?," Papers 15-93, Tel Aviv.
  3. repec:iza:izadps:dp1142 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  5. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Joan Y. Moriarty & Andre Portela Souza, 2002. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 9051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Aycan Çelikaksoy & Helena Nielsen & Mette Verner, 2006. "Marriage migration: just another case of positive assortative matching?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 253-275, 09.
  7. Helena Skyt Nielsen & Michael Svarer, 2006. "Educational Homogamy: Preferences or Opportunities?," CAM Working Papers 2006-12, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  8. Jakobsen, Vibeke & Smith, Nina, 2003. "The educational attainment of the children of the Danish ‘guest worker’ immigrants," Working Papers 03-6, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  9. Ira N. Gang & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 1999. "Is Child Like Parent? Educational Attainment and Ethnic Origin," Departmental Working Papers 199614, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  10. repec:oup:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:3:p:997-1038 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Riphahn, Regina T., 2001. "Cohort Effects in the Educational Attainment of Second Generation Immigrants in Germany: An Analysis of Census Data," IZA Discussion Papers 291, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
  13. Chiara Monfardini & Rosalba Radice, 2008. "Testing Exogeneity in the Bivariate Probit Model: A Monte Carlo Study," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(2), pages 271-282, 04.
  14. van Ours, Jan C & Veenman, Justus, 2002. "From Parent to Child; Early Labour Market Experiences of Second-Generation Immigrants in the Netherlands," CEPR Discussion Papers 3700, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Iyigun, Murat & Walsh, Randall P., 2005. "Building the Family Nest: Pre-Marital Investments, Marriage Markets and Spousal Allocations," IZA Discussion Papers 1752, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. 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.
  17. Xin Meng & Robert G. Gregory, 2005. "Intermarriage and the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 135-176, January.
  18. Helena Skyt Nielsen & Michael Rosholm & Nina Smith & Leif Husted, 2003. "The school-to-work transition of 2 nd generation immigrants in Denmark," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 755-786, November.
  19. Colding, Bjorg, 2006. "A dynamic analysis of educational progression of children of immigrants," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 479-492, August.
  20. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 791-821.
  21. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Joan Y. Moriarty & Andre Portela Souza, 2003. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 429-447, March.
  22. Rosholm, Michael & Husted, Leif & Skyt Nielsen, Helena, 2002. "Integration over generationer? Andengenerationsindvandrernes uddannelse," CLS Working Papers 02-1, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research.
  23. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1997. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 705-27, September.
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