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Returns to Citizenship? Evidence from Germany's Recent Immigration Reforms

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  • Gathmann, Christina

    () (Heidelberg University)

  • Keller, Nicolas

    () (Alfred-Weber-Institut für Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Universität Heidelberg)

Abstract

Immigrants in many countries have lower employment rates and lower earnings than natives. In this paper, we ask whether a more liberal access to citizenship can improve the economic integration of immigrants. Our analysis relies on two major immigration reforms in Germany, a country with a relatively weak record of immigrant assimilation. For identification, we exploit discontinuities in the reforms' eligibility rules. Between 1991 and 1999, adolescents could obtain citizenship after eight years of residency in Germany, while adults faced a 15-year residency requirement. Since 2000, all immigrants face an 8-year residency requirement. OLS estimates show a positive correlation between naturalization and labor market performance. Based on the eligibility rules, we find few returns of citizenship for men, but substantial returns for women. Returns are also larger for more recent immigrants, but essentially zero for traditional guest workers. Overall, liberalization of citizenship provides some benefits in the labor market but is unlikely to result in full economic and social integration of immigrants in the host country.

Suggested Citation

  • Gathmann, Christina & Keller, Nicolas, 2014. "Returns to Citizenship? Evidence from Germany's Recent Immigration Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 8064, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8064
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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Azzolini & Raffaele Guetto, 2017. "The impact of citizenship on intermarriage: Quasi-experimental evidence from two European Union Eastern enlargements," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(43), pages 1299-1336, April.
    2. Kathryn H. Anderson, 2015. "Can immigrants ever earn as much as native workers?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 159-159, June.
    3. Friedericke von Haaren-Giebel, 2016. "Naturalisation and Investments in Children's Human Capital: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 854, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Saurer, Judith & Felfe, Christina, 2014. "Granting Birthright Citizenship - A Door Opener for Immigrant Children's Educational Participation and Success?," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100548, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. von Haaren-Giebel, Friederike, 2016. "Naturalisation and Investments in Children's Human Capital: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-576, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    6. Christina Felfe & Helmut Rainer & Judith Saurer, 2016. "Why Birthright Citizenship Matters for Immigrant Children: Impacts on Parental Educational Choice," CESifo Working Paper Series 6037, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Eric Schuss, 2017. "Substantial Labor Market Effects of the Residency Status: How Important Are Initial Conditions at Arrival for Immigrants?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 952, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    8. Christina Gathmann, 2015. "Naturalization and citizenship: Who benefits?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 125-125, February.
    9. Tommaso Frattini, 2017. "Integration of immigrants in host countries - what we know and what works," Development Working Papers 427, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 10 Apr 2017.
    10. Okoampah, Sarah, 2016. "Estimating earnings assimilation of immigrants to Germany: Evidence from a double cohort model," Ruhr Economic Papers 630, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    11. Christina Felfe & Judith Saurer, 2015. "Granting Birthright Citizenship – A Door Opener for Immigrant Children's Educational Participation and Success?," ifo Working Paper Series 208, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    citizenship; assimilation; language; welfare; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • K37 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Immigration Law

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