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Measuring Ethnic Identity and Its Impact on Economic Behavior

  • Constant, Amelie F.


    (George Washington University, Temple University)

  • Zimmermann, Klaus F.


    (IZA and University of Bonn)

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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3063.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of the European Economic Association, 2008, 6 (2-3), 424-433
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3063
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Zimmermann, Laura V & Gataullina, Liliya & Constant, Amelie F. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2006. "Human Capital and Ethnic Self-Identification of Migrants," IZA Discussion Papers 2300, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. David Austen-Smith & Roland G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of "Acting White"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 551-583.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Harminder Battu & McDonald Mwale & Yves Zenou, 2007. "Oppositional identities and the labor market," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 643-667, July.
  6. Amelie Constant & Rowan Roberts & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2007. "Ethnic Identity and Immigrant Homeownership," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 57, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  7. Alberto Bisin & Eleonora Patacchini & Thierry Verdier & Yves Zenou, 2008. "Are Muslim Immigrants Different in Terms of Cultural Integration?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 445-456, 04-05.
  8. Constant, Amelie & Zimmermann, Klaus F & Zimmermann, Laura, 2007. "Ethnic Self-Identification of First-Generation Immigrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 6086, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. 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.
  10. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "Identity, Dignity and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," IZA Discussion Papers 2583, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Chiswick, Carmel U., 2006. "The Economic Determinants of Ethnic Assimilation," IZA Discussion Papers 2212, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Amelie F. Constant & Liliya Gataullina & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2009. "Ethnosizing Immigrants," Post-Print hal-00671932, HAL.
  13. Nekby, Lena & Rödin, Magnus, 2007. "Acculturation Identity and Labor Market Outcomes," SULCIS Working Papers 2007:4, Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS.
  14. Amelie Constant & Liliya Gataullina & Klaus F. Zimmermann & Laura Zimmermann, 2006. "Clash of Cultures: Muslims and Christians in the Ethnosizing Process," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 628, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  15. Amelie Constant & Liliya Gataullina & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2006. "Gender, Ethnic Identity and Work," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 643, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  16. Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2007. "Migrant Ethnic Identity: Concept and Policy Implications," IZA Discussion Papers 3056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. 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.
  18. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Peri, Giovanni, 2004. "The Economic Value of Cultural Diversity: Evidence from US Cities," CEPR Discussion Papers 4233, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Klaus Zimmermann, 2007. "The economics of migrant ethnicity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 487-494, July.
  20. Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles & Melissa Osborne, 2001. "Incentive-Enhancing Preferences: Personality, Behavior, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 155-158, May.
  21. 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.
  22. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
  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. 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.
  25. repec:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:2:p:551-583 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Mason, Patrick L., 2004. "Annual income, hourly wages, and identity Among Mexican Americans and other Latinos," MPRA Paper 11326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  27. repec:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:715-753 is not listed on IDEAS
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