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Ethnic Spatial Dispersion and Immigrant Identity

  • Constant, Amelie F.


    (George Washington University, Temple University)

  • Schüller, Simone



  • Zimmermann, Klaus F.


    (IZA and University of Bonn)

Ethnic groups tend to agglomerate and assemble, mostly in urban areas. While ethnic clustering is critically debated in societies and the consequences for economic outcomes are under debate in research, the process is not yet well understood. A separate literature has also examined the cultural and ethnic identity of immigrants and how these affect their economic performance and societal integration. However, an unexplored channel connects ethnic clustering with ethnic identity formation. Therefore this paper examines the role of ethnic geographic clustering in the sociocultural integration of immigrants. It employs survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, combined with disaggregated information at a low geographical level from the unexploited German full census of 1970 and 1987. We employ the exogenous placement of immigrants during their recruitment in the 1960s and 1970s and find that local co-ethnic concentration affects immigrants' cultural integration. Residential ethnic clustering strengthens immigrants' retention of an affiliation with their respective country of origin and weakens identification with the host society. The effects are nonlinear and only become significant at relatively high levels of co-ethnic concentration for the minority identity and at very low levels of local concentration for the majority identity. Our findings are robust to the use of an instrumental variable approach.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7868.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7868
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  1. Danzer, A. M. & Yaman, F., 2011. "Ethnic concentration and language fluency of immigrants in Germany," Working Papers 11/09, Department of Economics, City University London.
  2. Zimmermann, Laura & Gataullina, Liliya & Constant, Amelie & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2008. "Human capital and ethnic self-identification of immigrants," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 235-239, March.
  3. Alexander M. Danzer & Firat Yaman, 2012. "Do Ethnic Enclaves Impede Immigrants' Integration? Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Social-Interaction Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 4022, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Damm, Anna Piil, 2006. "Ethnic Enclaves and Immigrant Labour Market Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 06-4, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  5. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
  6. 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.
  7. repec:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:715-753 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Akay, Alpaslan & Constant, Amelie F. & Giulietti, Corrado, 2012. "The Impact of Immigration on the Well-Being of Natives," IZA Discussion Papers 6630, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Timothy Hatton & Andrew Leigh, 2011. "Immigrants assimilate as communities, not just as individuals," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 389-419, April.
  10. Constant, Amelie & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2009. "Work and Money: Payoffs by Ethnic Identity and Gender," CEPR Discussion Papers 7366, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Harminder Battu & Yves Zenou, 2010. "Oppositional Identities and Employment for Ethnic Minorities: Evidence from England," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(542), pages F52-F71, 02.
  12. Constant, Amelie F. & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Ethnosizing immigrants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 274-287, March.
  13. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:3:p:827-72 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2007. "When Are Ghettos Bad? Lessons from Immigrant Segregation in the United States," NBER Working Papers 13082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. repec:oup:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:1:p:329-357 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. repec:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:1019-1055 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Bisin, Alberto & Patacchini, Eleonora & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2011. "Formation and persistence of oppositional identities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1046-1071.
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