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Ethnic Spatial Dispersion and Immigrant Identity

Listed author(s):
  • Constant, Amelie F.

    ()

    (Temple University)

  • Schüller, Simone

    ()

    (CESifo)

  • Zimmermann, Klaus F.

    ()

    (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
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7868
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  1. Per-Anders Edin & Peter Fredriksson & Olof Åslund, 2003. "Ethnic Enclaves and the Economic Success of Immigrants—Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 329-357.
  2. Constant, Amelie F. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Work and Money: Payoffs by Ethnic Identity and Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 4275, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  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. Cutler, David M. & Glaeser, Edward L. & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2008. "When are ghettos bad? Lessons from immigrant segregation in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 759-774, May.
  5. 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.
  6. Timothy Hatton & Andrew Leigh, 2011. "Immigrants assimilate as communities, not just as individuals," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 389-419, April.
  7. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1019-1055.
  9. Anna Piil Damm, 2009. "Ethnic Enclaves and Immigrant Labor Market Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 281-314, 04.
  10. 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.
  11. Constant, Amelie F. & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Ethnosizing immigrants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 274-287, March.
  12. 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.
  13. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  14. Harminder Battu & Yves Zenou, 2010. "Oppositional Identities and Employment for Ethnic Minorities: Evidence from England," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(542), pages 52-71, 02.
  15. Akay, Alpaslan & Constant, Amelie & Giulietti, Corrado, 2014. "The impact of immigration on the well-being of natives," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 72-92.
  16. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-872.
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