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Interethnic Marriage: A Choice between Ethnic and Educational Similarities

  • Furtado, Delia

    ()

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Theodoropoulos, Nikolaos

    ()

    (University of Cyprus)

This paper examines the effects of education on intermarriage, and specifically whether the mechanisms through which education affects intermarriage differ by immigrant generation, age at arrival, and race. We consider three main paths through which education affects marriage choice. First, educated people may be better able to adapt to different cultures making them more likely to marry outside of their ethnicity (cultural adaptability effect). Second, because the educated are less likely to reside in ethnic enclaves, meeting potential spouses of the same ethnicity may be difficult (enclave effect). Lastly, if spouse-searchers value similarities in education as well as similarities in ethnicity, then the effect of education will depend on the availability of same-ethnicity potential spouses with a similar level of education (assortative matching effect). Using data from the 2000 U.S. Census, we find that controlling for the enclave effect, there is empirical evidence for both the cultural adaptability and assortative matching effects. Our estimates also suggest that assortative matching is relatively more important for the native born rather than the foreign born, for the foreign born that arrived young rather than old, and for Asians rather than Hispanics. We provide additional evidence suggestive of our hypotheses and discuss policy implications.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3448.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Population Economics, 2011, 24 (4), 1257-1279
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3448
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  1. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  2. Delia Furtado, 2007. "Cross-Nativity Marriages, Gender, and Human Capital Levels of Children," Working papers 2007-33, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  3. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2010. "Age at Arrival, English Proficiency, and Social Assimilation among US Immigrants," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 165-92, January.
  4. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
  5. Daniel T. Lichter & J. Brian Brown & Zhenchao Qian & Julie H. Carmalt, 2007. "Marital Assimilation Among Hispanics: Evidence of Declining Cultural and Economic Incorporation?," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 88(3), pages 745-765.
  6. 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).
  7. George J. Borjas, 1991. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," NBER Working Papers 3788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Julian R. Betts & Magnus Lofstrom, 2000. "The Educational Attainment of Immigrants: Trends and Implications," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 51-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Borjas, George J., 1998. "To Ghetto or Not to Ghetto: Ethnicity and Residential Segregation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 228-253, September.
  11. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond The Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, And The Evolution Of Ethnic And Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988, August.
  12. 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.
  13. Alberto Bisin & Giorgio Topa & Thierry Verdier, 2004. "Religious Intermarriage and Socialization in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 615-664, June.
  14. Maya N. Federman & David E. Harrington & Kathy J. Krynski, 2006. "Vietnamese manicurists: Displacing natives or finding new nails to polish?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 59(2), pages 302-318, January.
  15. Furtado, Delia, 2006. "Human Capital and Interethnic Marriage Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 1989, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Josh Angrist, 2002. "How Do Sex Ratios Affect Marriage And Labor Markets? Evidence From America'S Second Generation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 997-1038, August.
  17. 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.
  18. Chiswick, Barry R. & DebBurman, Noyna, 2004. "Educational attainment: analysis by immigrant generation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 361-379, August.
  19. Constant, Amelie F. & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Ethnosizing immigrants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 274-287, March.
  20. 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.
  21. Joseph Schaafsma & Arthur Sweetman, 2001. "Immigrant earnings: age at immigration matters," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1066-1099, November.
  22. Helena Skyt Nielsen & Nina Smith & Aycan Celikaksoy, 2007. "The Effect of Marriage on Education of Immigrants: Evidence from a Policy Reform Restricting Spouse Import," Economics Working Papers 2007-07, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  23. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-91, October.
  24. George J. Borjas, 2006. "Making it in America: Social Mobility in the Immigrant Population," NBER Working Papers 12088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. repec:iza:izadps:dp1142 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Christian Dustmann, 1996. "The social assimilation of immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 37-54, February.
  27. Linda Y. Wong, 2003. "Why so only 5.5% of Black Men Marry White Women?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(3), pages 803-826, 08.
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